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JOHANNESBURG - The Kroonstad Magistrate's Court on Friday sentenced a man to 12 years imprisonment, suspended for five years, on condition that he reimburses Eskom R900 000 in lost revenue for tampering with electricity meters at farms in the Free State.

Gerhard Ferreira had pleaded guilty to 14 charges of fraud and 10 counts of malicious damage to property.

''The 12 year sentence was suspended for five years on condition that he reimburses Eskom R921 830.88 worth of losses incurred by the company, payable by 31 December, 2020," Eskom said in a statement.

"Ferreira had offered to “calibrate meters” for customers at a fee. Following a tip-off, Eskom approached the Hawks who investigated the matter and eventually caught Ferreira red-handed on 26 May 2017.''

Eskom customers who had paid Ferreira for his illegal services were fined a total of R229 000. The illegal work was done at farms around Bothaville and Viljoenskroon regions, said Eskom.

The power utility warned its customers to not allow unauthorised people to do electricity meter work.

''Customers are reminded to never allow anyone without an authentic work order form to do any work on an Eskom installation. In addition, Eskom will never ask for payments to be made into bank accounts other than the one specified on the customers’ official bills.''

African News Agency (ANA)