Police officers part of racket vandalising power lines, says Minister Nankabirwa

The Energy Minister, Ruth Nankabirwa has said some police officers are part of the group vandalising electricity lines and towers but warned that their days are numbered.

“We know the network of notorious boys and how they are doing it. We even know of our own police officers who help in this business. We know them and this cannot be business as usual. The network is known and we are just waiting for the H hour and swing into action,” Nankabirwa said on Friday at the Uganda Media Centre in Kampala.

The minister was however quick to say her ministry will first to speak to scrap dealers before action is launched.

“The scrap dealers and factories that create market for scrap, I will have to sit with them before I announce something. Beginning January I will sit with them because I don’t want them to say I didn’t warn them.”

When contacted for a comment about the claims by the minister about some police officers being part of the racket vandalising power lines, Police spokesperson, Fred Enanga said he is not aware of the same.

“This is useful information that will require the minister (Nankabirwa) share it with the Internal Affairs Minister to get more details,” Enanga said.

He however noted that the security forces don’t condone any of their own involving in any criminal acts.

Enanga however said as security agencies leading operations against vandalism of electricity power lines, only one incident in which a UPDF officer was arrested for helping transport the vandalized items in Kyengera.

“The statements we have got from the suspects are self-explanatory about who are the  major perpetuators of vandalism. The suspects have confessed that scrap dealers who supply smelting companies and Umeme staff who conspire with the scrap dealers,”Enanga said.

President Museveni recently  warned those involved in vandalising power lines that soon they will pay a heavy price.

“I have not( in the past) come out  on the issue of vandalism but  the Ministry of Energy is still handling. I have not sat in any meeting about  vandalism and read it in papers . We have not discussed it in a forum where I have been. If necessary, I will come in.Once I come in, those vandals will not like it. It will be six feet under,” Museveni said on Friday.

“It will be solved. Are the power lines in Uganda or in Congo? If they are in Uganda, it will be handled.”

Electricity Regulatory Authority(ERA) recently said  at least 12 high voltage towers have been lost to vandalism in just one month.

They said there have been vandalism of  the 132 KV  Owen Falls-Lugogo line, 132KV Nalubale-Kampala North line, Bujagali-Kawanda line and Karuma-Kawanda line.

This state of affairs has seen many areas around the country get into load shedding as vandalism of rages on.

 

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