Man jailed for five years for vandalising ESCOM materials

A 35-year-old man has been sentenced to five years imprisonment at Chilinga in Phalombe District after being convicted for vandalizing the Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (ESCOM) Limited assets.

Chilinga Second Grade Magistrate, Steve Samuti, slapped the convict—Ofesi Mangani—with the jail term on January 20, 2024 after pleading guilty to the offences of theft and vandalism of ESCOM materials.

Officers from Chilinga Police Unit, acting on a tip-off, arrested Mangani on October 10 2023 when they found him in possession of aluminium conductors, earthwire, bobbins, D-iron and disk insulators whose estimated value is K2.3 million. 

The two offences of vandalizing and stealing ESCOM property are contrary to Section 45 (d) of the Electricity Act (2004) which states that any person who “damages or vandalizes any electrical installation or apparatus…shall be liable to the fine of K5,000,000 and imprisonment for 10 years.”

Mangani hails originally from Makuluni Village, Traditional Authority Njema in Mulanje, which is among the districts with the highest prevalence rates for cases of vandalism of ESCOM materials. The vandalized materials are usually either sold to unscrupulous scrap metal dealers or used to manufacture kitchenware.

A 2022 report for ESCOM on the prevalence of vandalism cases in the Southern Region indicates that MV conductors were the most targeted by the vandals. On the most hit districts, Thyolo, Blantyre, Zomba and Mulanje lead on the cases of vandalism.
The report shows that 41,355 MV conductor vandalism cases were registered in the region followed by the cases of HV conductor (12,875), 10,124 cases for earth mat, 1,708 for MV cable, 1,165 twin wire, 905 LV stay, 438 HV stay,195 HV cable, 77 transformers, MV fuse units (57) and HV metering unit (four).

Thyolo topped the list of the districts in the region hit the hardest by vandalism after registering 34 transformer cases, followed by 5,500 cases for MV conductors, 1,303 earth mats, 480MV cable and100 HV conductors. Some 20 HV cables were vandalized in Chikwawa during this period.

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