Police on Thursday said they had arrested 3 people in connection with electricity infrastructure vandalism in Mukono District.
The Kampala metropolitan Police spokesperson, Patrick Onyango says the three suspects were arrested for vandalizing high voltage power lines in Nama Subcounty, Mukono District on 8 December 2022.
‘’The key suspect was arrested on Thursday 8 December 2022, three (3) Kkilometers from the scene of crime with the help of Police dog. He confessed to being the rider of scrap dealers (names withheld). He is providing us with useful information’’, Onyango said in a statement issued on Friday 9 December 2022.
He added that the other two suspects were arrested on Friday morning at around 0430 hours from Nakapinyi North Village, Kasenge parish, Nama Subcounty Mukono District.
‘’The two have been identified as Ayikobuwa Fred aged 22 years, casual worker at Tian Tang Aluminium factory, Mbalala and Apima James 19 years, casual worker at Nama Mehta sugarcane plantation’’, added Onyango.
He said the hunt for other suspects is still ongoing.
According to the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development, it is estimated that Shs260 billion was lost due to vandalism in 2021.
The Uganda Electricity Transmission Company Limited is developing a whistle-blower policy that is likely to be passed next month. This will enable it to offer financial rewards to members of the public who offer information leading to arrests of vandals or recovery of stolen materials.
The effects of vandalizing include; increased project development costs, extended project delivery timelines and overall, affects the economy and national development among others.
It said the assets targeted normally include; pylons, wires/conductors, transmission infrastructure parts made of steel, aluminum wires, copper wires, transformers and transformer oils, poles, underground cables and related accessories.
It should be noted that Section 85, Subsection 3 of the Electricity (Amendment) Act, 2022 states that a person convicted of having stolen materials of conductors (cables) or towers, is fined 100,000 currency points (approximately Shs2b).
In the recent weeks, Uganda suffered a power blackout that affected the entire country which officials from the Electricity Regulatory Authority (ERA) partly blamed on the rampant electricity infrastructure vandalism.
In a move to curb the vice, ERA recently partnered with Police to Crackdown Vandals of Electricity in the country at an event presided over by Eng. Ziria Tibalwa Waako the Chief Executive Officer.