Thursday, June 10, 2021

HAWKS arrests 7 suspects for selling illegal electricity

Seven men accused of buying and reselling prepaid electricity to people, have been arrested.

According to Hawks’ spokesperson, Philani Nkwalase, the suspects were members of a syndicate operating in groups countrywide generating income of approximately R150 000 to R250 000 per day from illicit sales of electricity.

The seven were arrested following a project based investigation that ensued in May last year in Bloemfontein.

‘’They are highly organized, well-equipped, closely networked and are difficult to track due to the fact that these machines do not transact on a network or at a single place, but are constantly roving. The suspects were allegedly responsible for selling illegal electricity to pre-paid customers,’’ said Nkwalase.

The project probed the illicit sale of electricity facilitated by illegal vendors who had, in their possession, illegal electricity vending machines.

The suspects, aged between 28 and 67, were arrested at various locations across Gauteng on Wednesday.

‘’During their arrest, one of the suspects allegedly enticed the arresting officers with R100 000 gratification and was additionally charged with corruption. Meanwhile other suspects were allegedly found in possession of illegal firearms as well as ammunition and were additionally charged accordingly.’’

Several cell phones, laptops, sim cards, total cash amount of R714 800, seven luxury vehicles, electricity pre-paid vouchers and transaction records were seized for further investigation.

All the suspects are expected to appear in the Fochville Magistrate’s Court on Friday.

Eskom urges the public to stop buying illegal pre-paid electricity from ghost vendors and to report information regarding electricity theft and fraud, to the Eskom Crime Line number: 0800 11 27 22.

 

Done By: Mitchum George

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