Umeme staff among 17 held over electricity infrastructure vandalism
The territorial police in Mityana are holding 17 suspects in connection to the vandalism of electricity infrastructure.
The suspects, who reportedly include Umeme staff, were Thursday arrested in a joint intelligence-led operation with the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development.
14 of the suspects were got at Suremax guesthouse where they have allegedly been keeping the stolen electricity property and three were arrested from Gomba.
The Wamala regional police spokesperson, Ms Rachel Kawala said they have recovered the exhibits including; 20 Stay rods, five metres of conductor wires, 10 Umeme overcoats, 18 Stay insulators, one Umeme safety boot and disconnection book, among other properties, all belonging to Umeme in Mityana and a truck full of exhibits in Gomba.
Ms Kawala said the suspects are going to be charged with interference with meters, works or public lamps under Section 85A of electricity Amendment Act, 2022 among other charges.
Ms Kawala said the operations would continue in a bid to end theft and vandalism of electric infrastructure across the region.
However, Mr Stephen Ilungole, the Communications Manager at Umeme Limited said the suspects are not their workers and if any of their staff was involved, then they were acting in their individual selfish interests, and not on behalf of the entity.
“We do not condone such acts and our policy on zero-tolerance to corruption is clear on fraud and unethical behavior. Those involved will be subjected to their internal due process. If they are found guilty, they will be punished according to our Human Resource policy, including dismissal,’’ he said.
He said the sector in general loses an estimated amount of Shs24 billion annually and this would help them weed out the ‘weevils’ in the system.
“We are creating awareness to the effect that Umeme staff members are required to wear identification at all times, and are not allowed to receive cash from members of the public. We call upon the public to report suspicious people, suspected vandals, and imposters to Police,” he said.