Kiambu County Security team has recovered an assortment of vandalized Kenya Power equipment worth over Ksh 11 Million in Kianjogu area Kiambaa Sub County.
The equipment were discovered in a scrap metal yard owned by a couple which included transformers, burned transformer shells, TX laminations, Pylon bracings, stripped copper, cables among others.
Speaking to the Media at the scene of crime and during the recovery process, the Secretary Administration for the State Department for Energy Wycliffe Ogallo said that currently financially alone , Kiambu County has over 42 transformers.
“Losing this kind of assorted energy infrastructure instruments as you can see here reflects economic sabotage and challenge especially in Kiambu considering it has various towns which have critical factories and industries right from Thika, Juja and Ruiru”, he said.
He added “The owner of this premises is a criminal and as you did see the items here purely belong to KPLC and they are marked as such and you can also see the unorthodox ways he has used to bring them done we have part pylons that are here and wires used to convey electricity to the masses”.
He named activities such as hospitals, hotels, farming industries that have also been affected by the vandalization saying these affect human existence by disrupting normal social activities of the citizens as well as employment.
“We want therefore to give strict warning to those who are involved in such illegal activities that they will not be spared and particularly for this case whose suspect is a habitual one and has other cases pending in other courts.
He thanked the Kiambu Security intelligence committee who through intelligence from members of the public responded very fast to impound the infrastructure more so those that convey electricity
“Once again, I want to applaud and salute members of the public for being part and parcel of efforts towards fighting such vandalism. We can only compare such acts as those of terrorists because their acts affects the general spectrum of human beings and citizenry activities “, Ogallo said
The Secretary further noted that such criminal acts are the government’s efforts towards connecting households with electricity particularly through the last mile.
Ogallo confirmed that apart from Kiambu , the government has noted a recent trend in which the transformers are being targeted nationwide saying that as a ministry and through the energy police unit will work towards protecting the critical installations.
The Secretary further said that they will not rule out work of a syndicate because there may be cartels saying investigations are in place but warned that if either of the staff of KPLC is found culpable of the act they will face the law.
As for the scrap metal contractors, Ogallo said the government reviews their eligibility and that through their national council agreed that any metal dealer found to handle any infrastructure that is related to the energy sector , will see their licenses revoked
Kiambu County Police Commander Perminus Kioi said the vandalization menace has been going on for some time now but that for the last two months it has been rampant especially in areas of Ndeia which lost 14 transformers , Limuru 3, juja , Thika east and Munyu area and also other areas like Gatundu north .
“Apart from these notable areas, the criminals have gone and extended to KENOL area and Muranga. We have been following the matter for a while but let me warn those doing this especially here in Kiambu, we have no space for them . We have been running various operations and we will not let them be, we are ready for them”, he said
The Commander further said that they are working with the Judiciary and that the suspect will be arraigned in court charged by economic crimes. “ We have arrested one person and we are also looking for others . We are asking them to surrender themselves as they will go nowhere. We have all the mechanism of getting them”, he said
Kioi also said that they will not be ruling out anything such as the scrap metal dealers saying they have time to get to all culprits and if it’s a syndicate, he added they will get all of them once and for all .
Kiambu County Commissioner , Joshua Nkanatha said the County has adversely been affected by the recent crimes with very many areas being affected by the vandalism.
“ We thank God we have found it is a suspect who has had issues elsewhere but I also want to warn those who are feeding on illicit trade that their days are numbered and we are coming for you and if we find you on KPLC towers or even posts and you are not an employee there we will deal with you ruthlessely”, he warned.
Nkanatha warned members of the public not to handle any items or equipment from government institutions without permits or permissions saying whether one is a worker in the business premises found with the government property, they face the law.
“As County security committee, we will make sure these menaces are minimized and I thank the public because without their involvement we would have found these ones”, the CC said.
Kenya Power has recently decried the rampant vandalism on their intrastate across the country warning that stealing power equipment is an economic sabotage and applicable to court hearing as provided for in section 169 of the Energy Act 2019.