FS Hawks nab 7 people for illicit sale of electricity

The team traced the criminal network responsible for large-scale pre-paid electricity fraud and theft in various locations in the Free State.

A multidisciplinary team traced and arrested a criminal network responsible for large-scale pre-paid electricity fraud and theft on 9 May 2021. Picture: SAPS.

JOHANNESBURG - The Hawks in the Free State have arrested seven suspects for the illicit sale of electricity.

The suspects, agreed between 28 and 67, were handcuffed on Wednesday in Gauteng following a joint operation between Eskom investigators and law enforcement.

The team traced the criminal network responsible for large-scale pre-paid electricity fraud and theft in various locations in the Free State.

It's understood the syndicates operated in groups nationally and generated income of about R150,000 to R250,000 per day from illicit sales of electricity, resulting in multi-million rand losses to Eskom per annum.

The Hawk's Philani Nkwalase said electricity pre-paid vouchers, seven luxury cars and about R700,000 in cash were seized during the arrest.

“This project driven investigation ensued in May 2020 in Bloemfontein, probing the illicit sale of electricity facilitated by illegal vendors who have in their possession illegal electricity vending machines also known as ghost vending. During their arrest, one of the suspects allegedly enticed the arresting officers with R100 000 gratification and was additionally charged with corruption.”

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