A 46-year-old farmer has landed himself in hot water and is expected to appear in the Bloemfontein Regional Court.
The farmer was issued with a summons and faces 17 charges of fraud, corruption, malicious damage to property and damage to essential infrastructure in terms of Section 3 of the Criminal Matters Amendment Act.
The provincial spokesperson for the Directorate of Priority Crime Investigation (Hawks), Lieutenant Colonel Zweli Mohobeleli said the illegal connections were alleged to have occurred in 2016.
An Eskom audit revealed the tampering with electricity meters on several premises linked to the farmer in Steunmekaar and Petrusburg.
“An Eskom audit revealed tampering with electricity meters on several premises linked to him in Steunmekaar and Petrusburg. The illegal connections, which were aimed at reducing electricity costs, are alleged to have occurred in 2016.
“The identified meters were collected and sent to a laboratory for confirmation. The results came back positive.
“Eskom was prejudiced and suffered a loss of R1.9 million. Hawks' Serious Corruption Investigation and Eskom investigators immediately started working on the matter,” Mohobeleli said.
The head of the Hawks in the Free State, Major General Mokgadi Bokaba has cautioned all residents about tampering with electricity meters.
“Trying to reduce electricity costs by tampering with electricity meters is a criminal offence. You shall be arrested and prosecuted. We have reason to suspect that the farmer might have been assisted. Leads in this regard are being followed,” Bokaba said.
The farmer is expected to appear in court on September 14.