Hawks arrest five suspects for allegedly selling illegal prepaid electricity vouchers

By Sihle Mlambo Time of article published Sep 30, 2021

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Johannesburg - The Hawks’ Serious Commercial Crime Unit has arrested five suspects who were allegedly selling illegal prepaid electricity vouchers in the Rustenburg community.

The suspects, who are between the age of 36 and 47, were arrested in Rustenburg, in the North West.

The Hawks, along with Eskom investigators, have arrested 30 suspects on similar charges since May last year.

Speaking to IOL, Hawks Free State spokesperson Captain Christopher Singo said the suspects operated in groups and would normally sell the electricity units in their local communities.

He said the specialised unit had now arrested a total of 30 suspects since last year – mainly in the Free State – with the latest five suspects being arrested in the North West.

He said there was a machine that the suspects used to generate the vouchers that the Hawks had yet to find.

“This is a case we started investigating in the Free State. The suspects operate in groups in different areas.

“They normally sell the electricity in their home towns, so they go and collect the meter numbers, they pay them and then they receive the electricity,” said Singo.

He said the suspects were not Eskom employees.

“They have a machine that they use to generate the vouchers. But we have not found this machine.”

Singo said the arrest of the five suspects was effected during the third phase of their investigation, which they were working closely with Eskom investigators on.

“This project driven investigation began in May 2020 in Bloemfontein, Free State probing the illicit sale of electricity facilitated by illegal vendors who have in their possession illegal electricity vending machines. ‘Ghost vending’ involves the illegal sales and purchases of electricity.”

The suspects are expected to appear in the Fochville Magistrate’s Court on Friday.

IOL

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