Thirty-four-year-old Edson Soko has been sentenced to pay K200, 000 fine or in default to serve 24 months imprisonment with hard labour after finding him guilty of tampering with Escom meters contrary to section 45(b) of Electricity Act.
The Karonga First Grade Magistrate court heard that on March 23 2016, Soko tampered with four ESCOM meters in Mwanyesha, Malema 2 and Mwambuli villages in the district.
Police prosecutor, Peter Pilingu, told the court that tampering with Escom meters is a serious offence that attracts a maximum penalty of K50 million or in default 10 years imprisonment with hard labour.
“Your worship, the tampered with meters will not work again. That means there is a loss to Escom; the company has lost a lot of money to procure replacement meters,” said Pilingu.
Pilingu, therefore, pleaded with the court to impose a meaningful sentence to the accused person in order to deter would-be offenders.
In mitigation, Soko asked the court to be lenient when passing sentence on him because he has a very big family responsibility.
However, delivering the sentence, First Grade Magistrate Chakaka Nyirenda concurred with the state about the seriousness of the offence. But he considered his mitigating factors.
“The accused person is a first offender, he looks youthful, he has a family responsibility. The court will consider all these mitigating factors. I therefore sentence the accused person to pay K200, 000 fine or in default serve 24 months imprisonment with hard labour,” said Nyirenda.
Soko hails from Mdowa Village in Traditional Authority Wasambo in the same district.
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