SESCO-MACC Joint Operation Busts Largest Meter Tampering Syndicate In Miri

MIRI, 29th August 2018, Wednesday: Sarawak Energy utility arm, Syarikat SESCO Berhad (SESCO) joined forces with Malaysian Anti-Corruption Agency (MACC) in an operation that leads to a significant meter tampering bust since power theft enforcement began in 2010.  

The joint operation on 27th August was as a result of internal investigation and public tip off, which led to the arrest of a syndicate member and the seizure of more than 500 imitation SESCO meter covers and 90 stolen SESCO meters.  

The operation covered two locations, at Jalan Acacia and Permyjaya where the suspect operates his meter tampering business.  At the premises, the team also discovered about 100 cryptocurrency mining servers directly tapping power, bypassing SESCO meter.

In the operation, the suspect, detained at his rented house in Jalan Acacia in Miri was found to have converted one of his rooms as a laboratory for meter tampering activities.

Various meter components and parts used for tampering, such as relay switches, cut out fuses, cut out holders, meter security seals, meter circuit boards and remote control switches were found at the premises together with 90 stolen SESCO electric meters.

All evidence found in both premises were confiscated by MACC and direct tapping cables connected to the cryptocurrency mining servers were dismantled and seized by SESCO technicians as evidence for prosecution.

It is believed that the syndicate is responsible for most of the meter tampering activities in Miri and Sibu for years, servicing residential, commercial and industrial customers.

Upon his release from detention by MACC yesterday, the suspect was immediately detained by the police for further investigation for the theft of SESCO meters and power theft activities.

"This is just the tip of the iceberg. This collaboration with MACC is based on our suspicion that the syndicate is operating with assistance from insiders within the company. We now have the opportunity to further investigate this suspicion,” said a SESCO spokesperson.

"We will not compromise on integrity and strongly condemn any form of corrupt practice.  Our staff, must abide by the law and Code of Ethics.  Anyone who is proven to have acted fraudulently or in a corrupt manner will be dealt with according to the law,” he added.

With this significant arrest, SESCO will actively continue meter inspection operations across the state and work with Ministry of Utilities Electricity Inspectorate Unit (EIU) and other enforcement agencies such as MACC and Police to curb this dangerous crime.

Power theft in the state has caused Sarawak Energy RM80 million in losses annually and out of this amount, RM25 million is recorded in Miri alone.

“The success of this operation is made possible with the commitment and strong support from all relevant authorities including members of the public.  For this operation, we wish to express our appreciation to both MACC and the Police for their strong efforts in the enforcement to curb this menace that steals power and at the same time threatens public safety as the tampered wirings can cause short circuit and lead to fire, putting others in danger,” said the Spokesperson.

SESCO would like to remind the public not to engage service providers offering services to steal electricity as it is a crime under Section 33 (5) of the Electricity Ordinance, which carries a penalty of RM100,000 and/or five years’ jail.

The public can continue to report any suspected power theft information at SESCO hotline 082-443535. All information will be kept strictly confidential.

A mini meter laboratory at the suspect’s rented house.

The operation station in the mini meter laboratory used to tamper the meters.

Some of the seized exhibits from the suspect’s mini meter laboratory in the rented house.

Stolen SESCO meters and components (relay, switches) found kept in the cabinet in the mini meter laboratory at the rented house.

SESCO technician dismantling the direct tapping cable at the suspect’s house at PermyJaya, Miri.

Stacks of cryptocurrency mining servers found at the suspect’s rented house at Jalan Acacia

Stacks of cryptocurrency mining servers found at the suspect’s own house at Permyjaya