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Malawi Police recover stolen Escom, MTL cables

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Malawi Police in Blantyre on Saturday night recovered 24 bags of copper cables which are suspected to have been stolen from the Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (Escom) and Malawi Telecommunicat ions Limited (MTL).

Chileka Police Station spokesperson Peter Kalaya said two people were arrested at Legacy Lodge in Lunzu as they were packing the cables in a truck but the driver and other suspects bolted upon seeing the police officers.

“After receiving a tip-off from a well-wisher, we immediately sent our officers on patrol to Legacy Lodge and they found the suspects packing the cables in the middle of the truck between bags of pigeon peas to disguise them,” said Kalaya.

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He added that the suspects wanted to smuggle the copper cables to Mozambique using the pigeon peas as a cover up. The value of the cables was yet to be established but they weighed about 950 kilogrammes.

Escom Public Relations Officer George Mituka expressed worry over the continued tendency of vandalism of transformers and cables, saying it is frustrating Escom’s efforts in achieving improved reliability and expansion of its supply.

“This is setting us back in a big way because the money we are supposed to be using in expanding our network is being channelled to replace the stolen cables and vandalized transformers. It is like taking a step forward and two steps backwards,” said Mituka.

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He thanked the police for a job well done and asked the public to own Escom infrastructure, saying there is no development without electricity. He added that it is even dangerous to tamper with Escom cables as they carry huge voltages of power.

Kalaya identified the two suspects as 30-year-old James Chi funi l o of Matali Village in Traditional Authority (T/A) Phambala’s area in Ntcheu and Paul Mhango, 23, of Chipyali Village in T/A Kalembo’s area in Balaka.

The two will answer charges of being found in possession of property suspected to have been stolen.

The police have since released the truck registration number NN2014.

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