Eskom subcontractor faces charges
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.