The Uganda Police Force has recovered more than 40 tonnes of angle lines used to construct high voltage power lines, from different scrap metal centres in Kampala.
In a statement on social media, the Police said it had detained thirteen people in connection with the suspected vandalism of high voltage power lines that caused a major blackout last month.
The Police suspects that the materials recovered from scrap yards in Kisenyi is part of the vandalized infrastructure that took place in Mukono recently.
Police says that acting on intelligence, it raided three locations; Social center scrap yard in Mengo parish, Kampala central division Kampala district, Nakitende scrap yard at Budonian village Mengo parish Kampala central division
Kampala district and Kisenyi scrap dealers opposite Ham building central zone Kisenyi.
The raid come hot on the heals of reports of widespread theft of parts of Uganda’s critical power infrastructure by some brainless individuals.
Alarm bells went off recently when the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development revealed that some sections of its newly constructed high-voltage transmission lines had been disabled by vandals who dared and cut the pylons that are used to hold high-voltage power lines.
Although Parliament early this year passed the Electricity Amendment Bill 2022, which provided for heavy penalties against those convicted of vandalizing electricity infrastructure, the country has instead experienced a spike in the vice.
The bill was assented to by President Yoweri Museveni, set a prison sentence of 15 years or a fine of UGX 1bn or both for vandalism of electricity infrastructure and power theft.
The vandalism has caused serious adverse effects on the economy through causing power outages that negatively affect the smooth flow of business, besides causing losses to the tax payers through needless replacements and repair works.
According to electricity distributor Umeme, Uganda loses UGX 26 billion to electricity sector Vandals annually.
The company’s Managing Director Selestino Babungi revealed recently that the vice of electricity vandalism was rampant in Western Uganda, where For example over 133 km of cables had been stolen in just 12 months and causing unprecedented disruption of electricity supply.
The Uganda Electricity Transmission Company Limited (UETCL) released a distressing statement in which it said that due to vandalism that had brought down four towers on its high-voltage transmission line from Nalubale to Lugogo, Kampala and surrounding areas would experience power blackouts.
The Ministry has been conducting mass sensitization drives in Mukono and other areas where the towers were cut, to desist from the practice and report the culprits to the nearest Police station or call the Electricity Regulatory Authority’s Hotline: 0200 506 000.