TWO Chingola magistrates’ courts have sentenced two residents to one year and 18 months imprisonment separately for illegally bypassing Zesco Limited’s pre-paid meters to avoid paying for electricity.
One court sentenced a 30-year-old woman to one-year simple imprisonment for connecting electricity illegally, bypassing the pre-paid meter box.
Magistrate Joseph Malabo imposed the jail sentence on Joyce Mwanza of H4/B4 Kamba Section, Nchanga North, Chingola, after she pleaded guilty to the charge.
According to the facts presented by Chingola division prosecutions officer for Zesco Limited Patrick Chola have the company is losing thousands of Kwacha.
Mr Chola said many Chingola residents, especially in Kamba Section, are illegally connecting electricity to their houses through meter bypass.
“Your honour, the company is losing colossal sums of money because of the illegal connections by the residents. We are appealing if something can be done so as to curb the increasing vice,” he said.
Mr Chola told the court that when officers went to inspect Mwanza’s house, they discovered that she had bypassed a Zesco pre-paid meter.
On unknown dates but between June 1 and September 15 this year, while acting together with other people, Mwanza unlawfully fraudulently diverted electricity power by way of bypassing a Zesco pre-paid meter to her own use.
Mwanza told the court that she did not have money to buy power, which was why she resorted to bypassing the pre-paid meter.
She begged the court to be lenient with her saying that her four children would suffer if she was sent to prison.
“Your honour, my husband has left me with four children and they will suffer if I go to prison,” Mwanza said.
Mr Malabo said that people who will be found wanting will face the law so as to curb their conduct.
“I find you guilty and convict you accordingly. I have heard your mitigation and that you are a first offender but the offence you committed is very serious. And this conduct should be brought to an end, “said Mr Malabo.
He said that illegal connections can cause serious problems and can also cause death.
“What you did could have caused an inferno or death because you connected electricity yourself without the consent of Zesco and you would have blamed the company for the loss. Do not play with electricity. You are also contributing to the low power supply,” he said.
In another court, magistrate Pensone Chiluba sentenced a 25-year-old man to 18 months imprisonment with hard labour for also connecting electricity illegally.
Mr Chiluba convicted Sydney Chali of H2/H3 Kamba Section after pleading guilty to the offence.
On unknown dates but between July 1 and September 1 this year, Chali unlawfully fraudulently diverted electricity power by way of bypassing a Zesco pre-paid meter to his own use.