8 held over theft of City Power equipment
THREE senior City Power employees, two former employees and three others sub-contracted to the company have been arrested for stealing and selling the company's electrical equipment.
The employees are alleged to have siphoned off millions of rands over the past few years through the selling of the company's electrical equipment to subcontractors.
The three were arrested at their workplace in Booysens, Johannesburg, while the former employees and sub-contractors were nabbed in Kempton Park.
Staff in Booysens stared in shock and some laughed when the three were handcuffed and whisked away by the Vaal Rand organised crime unit yesterday.
Police spokesperson Superintendent Lungelo Dlamini said the men were part of a syndicate that had been robbing the power utility of millions of rands for years.
"We don't know when they started but City Power asked us two years ago to investigate theft and corruption by its employees, former employees and subcontractors," Dlamini said.
It is alleged that the employees stole the equipment from City Power depots, which included large transformers and copper cables.
They would sell these to City Power subcontractors.
It is also alleged that the sub-contractors had milked the power utility of millions of rands through the syndicate.
An employee, who refused to be named, said one transformer costs more than R1million, and was equipped with oil and copper cables, that could be stripped and sold at scrap yards.
The man said at times when a transformer had been erected at a site a subcontractor, accompanied by City Power employees, would claim that the transformer was faulty. The men would then sell it to the subcontractor.
Dlamini said during their probe nine people, including employees and subcontractors, were identified as the main culprits.
"We patiently traced them and followed up every lead that led to their arrests."
Police seized a transformer, a drum cable and three vehicles belonging to the employees.
Houses of the suspects were also raided by the police assets forfeiture unit.
Dlamini said one more suspect would be arrested soon.
City Power spokesperson said the employees were suspended immediately after their arrests and further steps would be taken after court proceedings.
The suspects will appear in court soon on charges of theft and corruption.