Hawks nab 7 suspects in connection with large scale illicit electricity theft

Seven suspects, who aged between 28 and 67 years, have been arrested in connection with large-scale prepaid electricity theft and fraud.

Reports state that the suspects are expected to appear in the Fochville Magistrate’s Court on Friday.

The Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (Hawks) nabbed the suspects in the early hours of Wednesday morning.

Spokesperson for the Hawks Colonel Philani Nkwalase stated that the suspects allegedly attempted to bribe the arresting officers with R100, 000.

Meanwhile, Nkwalase said the other suspects were allegedly found in possession of illegal firearms as well as ammunition, and will face additional charges related to this.

Nkwalase said their arrests followed an investigation that started last year.

Meanwhile, Nkwalase said the other suspects were allegedly found in possession of illegal firearms as well as ammunition, and will face additional charges related to this.

Nkwalase said their arrests followed an investigation that started last year.

“This project-driven investigation ensued in May 2020 in Bloemfontein, Free State, probing the illicit sale of electricity facilitated by illegal vendors who have in their possession illegal electricity vending machines. ‘Ghost vending’ involves the illegal sales and purchases of electricity,” said Nkwalase.

Nkwalase said the syndicates reportedly operate in groups across the country and generate income of about R150,000 to R250,000 a day from illicit sales of electricity.

Eskom CEO André de Ruyter said this will help restore confidence in Eskom as the power utility continues to fight the scourge of crime that plagues the Institution and the country.

Eskom has urged the public to stop buying illegal prepaid electricity from ghost vendors and to report information regarding electricity theft and fraud to the Eskom Crime Line number: 080-011-2722.

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