Democratic Progressive Party Member of Parliament for Mangochi South West Shadric Namalomba has dragged the Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (Escom) to court for alleged deduction of pre-paid electricity units from a meter at his hospitality business in Mulanje District.
The High Court Registrar has since granted Namalomba an order of interlocutory injunction pending a hearing of the matter within 14 working days from April 26 2022.
It is alleged that Namalomba, who is also spokesperson for former president Peter Mutharika, fraudulently obtained electricity units of up to about K21 million under the free issue arrangement from an employee of the Electricity Generation Company (Egenco) for business use at his resort, which uses meter number 37154401832.
“Upon considering the application for interlocutory injunction order herein and upon reading the supporting documents… an order of interlocutory injunction is hereby granted for 14 days herein within which the claimant shall file a notice for hearing of the continuation of the order herein…” the order reads.
In the order, the court has directed that Escom should stop deducting units from the meter in question to recover 91825.40 units suspected to have been obtained illegally or in any way charging his meter with the said amount of units as debt.
Namalomba confirmed the development in an interview, saying Escom has, in recent months, failed its duty of providing information to him as a client concerning the accusations against him.
“As a former employee of Egenco, these are things I would not fail to understand if they took time to explain to me. I engaged the chief executive officer (CEO) a number of times after getting the notice but he was not forthcoming. I feel victimised and I hope they are not being used by my political enemies,” Namalomba said, referring us to his sworn statement.
In the statement, Namalomba says he speculates that the units Escom could be talking about are those he received during the time he worked with Egenco.
“I strongly believe that it’s unfair for the defendant to punish me without full… disclosure of the breach I have committed. I use prepared units which are paid for before use. I am hearing from the media about the free issue units. But I don’t know which ones,” the statement reads.
Escom Communications Manager Innocent Chitosi said they had been served with the court order and that processes were underway to challenge it.
“We are very fortunate to stand on solid ground. We have our facts backed by clear evidence.
“We are challenging it. It will be exciting as the matter will expose a lot from within and outside the corporation. We are here to serve the common good of all Malawians and we are doing exactly that,” he said.
In March this year, Escom uncovered a syndicate in which some of its employees were suspected to have been conniving with others from Egenco and defrauding the corporation of K60 billion through illegal prepaid electricity units transfers and sales to some businesses, hotels and companies
Following the revelation, CEO Kamkwamba Kumwenda instituted an internal audit and investigation, which exposed the alleged illegal activities and transactions in which 461,000 properties were marked to have been beneficiaries.
He then issued a memo to members of staff cautioning them over the matter.