Eskom sub­con­trac­tor faces charges

The New Age (Free State) - - NEWS - KAMOGELO SEEKOEI kamo­ge­los@the­

THE case against a Viljoen­skroon man who al­legedly helped farm­ers in the area by­pass elec­tric­ity bills will be in the farming town’s mag­is­trate’s court again on Friday.

Ger­ald Fer­reira will ap­pear for a bail ap­pli­ca­tion.

He ap­peared briefly in the Viljoen­skroon Mag­is­trate’s Court fac­ing charges of cor­rup­tion, at­tempted theft and fraud last Friday af­ter he was ar­rested by the Hawks anti- cor­rup­tion unit.

Fer­reira, who is the power util­ity’s sub­con­trac­tor, pre­sented him­self as an em­ployee of Eskom and is sus­pected of by­pass­ing elec­tric­ity me­ters on farms in the Bothav­ille and Viljoen­skroon area.

He al­legedly of­fered to cal­i­brate me­ters which would re­sult in lower elec­tric­ity charges and charged the cus­tomers be­tween R2 300 and R10 000 per me­ter.

Af­ter a tip- off, Eskom re­ported the mat­ter to the Hawks who ex­ten­sively in­ves­ti­gated the mat­ter. It took all of 18 months to make the ar­rest.

An op­er­a­tion was con­ducted and Fer­reira was caught red-handed last week at a farm in Viljoen­skroon af­ter tam­per­ing with a me­ter box.

He was found in pos­ses­sion of R7 800 which was paid to him by an un­der­cover police of­fi­cer. The money was sub­se­quently seized.

Eskom will au­dit all elec­tric­ity me­ters on farms in the Bothav­ille and Viljoen­skroon ar­eas.

This is af­ter it found that Fer­reira had been as­sist­ing farm­ers to by­pass their elec­tric­ity bills.

Cus­tomers will also be pe­nalised if found to have tam­pered with me­ters.

Any per­son with in­for­ma­tion that might be of ben­e­fit to the in­ves­ti­ga­tion or wishes to come for­ward can con­tact Rene Janse van Rens­burg on 051 404 2277 dur­ing of­fice hours.

Sus­pected elec­tric­ity theft can be re­ported anony­mously by send­ing an SMS to 32211 (R1/SMS).

TIPPED-OFF: Elec­tric­ity fraud­ster is caught red-handed tam­per­ing with a me­ter box to help farm­ers by­pass their elec­tric­ity bills.

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