- The manager of the metal dealing company within the town’s Devki area along Mombasa road was arrested in Thursday’s swoop.
- The operations were jointly conducted by police officers alongside Kenya Power Company officials from Machakos County and Nairobi headquarters.
A scrap metal dealer was Thursday arrested with an assortment of Kenya Power company’s vandalized property in Athi River, Machakos County.
The manager of the metal dealing company within the town’s Devki area along Mombasa road was arrested in Thursday’s swoop.
The operations were jointly conducted by police officers alongside Kenya Power Company officials from Machakos County and Nairobi headquarters.
The long-day swoop was led by Nairobi’s Kenya Power regional manager Mutegi Mbai. He confirmed the suspect’s arrest.
“We have today conducted a raid on a scrap metal dealer who has been dealing in vandalized Kenya Power network equipment, collected evidence from his yard and arrested the manager,” Mbai said.
Mbai addressed the press during the raid at the scene on Thursday.
He said the suspect had been processed and detained at Athi River police station awaiting arraignment at Mavoko Law Courts on Friday.
He said they recovered copper wires from vandalized transformers, 134kgs of assorted aluminium conductors from power lines, fuses from transformers, copper earthing materials and lags, five pieces of switch gear plates and five sacks of an assortment of copper, all properties of Kenya Power.
“This has been a growing challenge within Nairobi and in the entire country. This financial year alone, for example, we have so far lost 43 transformers within Kajiado and Machakos Counties alongside 20 kms of fibre lines and other assorted power equipment from our lines and substations,” Mbai said.
Mbai termed vandalism and theft of Kenya's power property as economic sabotage and hence warned the culprits against involving in such criminal activities.
“These acts amount to economic sabotage. We are asking members of the public to help us in terms of vigilance by reporting any suspicious activities in our infrastructure. Share intelligence information with security officers in police stations near your reach,” Mbai said.
“When that network is out, a hospital, school and hotel for instance is out of power, it’s the public that suffers even more than the power utility,” Mbai said.
“When you have vandalized Kenya Power property thereby causing unnecessary accidents and fatalities on the route, it’s not good for the general economy,” he added.
He said they were working closely with NGAO teams, courts and police officers in the regions and the entire country to cab the menace.
Mbai said they hope some of the cases they had in courts across the country will serve as good examples and send strong messages to people who engage in similar vices.
He said the most affected areas affected by vandalism in Kajiado county included Kitengela town, Rongai and Ngong where they had witnessed an upsurge on vandalism on transformers.
In Machakos County, Mbai said Machakos town, Mwala, Makutano and parts of Kithimani were the most affected areas.
He said fibre vandalism had crossed to Makueni counties where it was lately on the rise since two weeks ago. Mbai said this had never happened in the county.
“For the last two months alone within Machakos and Makueni counties, we have lost a total of 25kms of fibre cable which we use to run our networks, keep up the power supply, do remote network operations and operate ICT systems in our offices,” Mbai said.
Mbai warned that Kenya Power had stepped up its security operations and it was just a matter of time for the law to catch up with criminals behind vandalism of their property across the country.
“Please stay away from this vice, we have a number of ongoing cases in court under the Economic Sabotage as provided for in Section 169 of the Energy Act 2019,” Mbai said.