Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (Escom) officers, whose identities remain under wraps, were on Friday arrested for disconnecting illegally connected houses at Machinga Police Station whose bills range from K50,000 to over K300,000.
Both Escom and police officials on Monday confirmed the development.
However, police say the officers were arrested for trespassing although Escom claims that the police were notified about their visit to inspect their installations.
“Since early this year, we have been conducting a customer verification exercise. Through this exercise, we visit our installations in a number of premises to check on the installations, safety and to check whether everything is properly in place.
“On this material [day], our team was in Machinga. During the first visit, they disconnected some of the houses because they were not properly connected to our supply,” Escom Public Relations Manager, Kitty Chingota, said.
She said on their second visit, the Escom officers discovered a house that had no meter and the owner was allegedly not paying for the electricity.
The Escom publicist said before disconnecting the house, the team had a meeting with the officer in-charge at the police station, Isaac Maluwa, who is alleged to have confessed about the illegal connections.
“Now when our staff were about to go away after disconnecting the house, they noticed that the houses within the police premises that were disconnected during the first visit had been illegally reconnected. So, when they went to disconnect again, that is now when other [police] officers came and started threatening our [Escom] officers,” Chingota explained.
She said the Escom workers were then arrested for trespassing.
Chingota said the Escom staff were later released after a lengthy discussion with Maluwa.
“When they saw those illegal reconnections, Escom had no obligation to go to beg to do their job,” she said.
But commenting on the issue, Maluwa confirmed that the Escom workers visited the police station to disconnect electricity and were arrested for entering the police compound without notifying the office of the Officer-In-Charge.
He said after the disconnection, the station liaised with Eastern Region Police and agreed how the concerned police officer should be paying their bills.
“The problem is not with the individuals who are occupying the houses; it is because we keep on changing the occupants of the houses. So, there’s no proper hand-over of those bills,” Maluwa explained
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