UMEME employees among 17 arrested over vandalism of electricity infrastructure

14 of the suspects were got at Suremax guesthouse where they have allegedly been keeping the stolen electricity property, while the three were arrested from Gomba.

Some of the suspects at Mityana police after their arrest on September 15, 2022. PHOTO | @PoliceUg

MITYANA, UGANDA: The territorial police in Mityana are holding a total of 17 suspects including UMEME employees in connection to the vandalism of electricity infrastructure in the district.

The suspects according to a police statement were arrested on Thursday, September 15 during a joint intelligence-led operation carried out by the security forces together with officials from the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development.

Police identified the suspects as Mpungu Robert, Kasuja Peter, Bitamuzi Richard Kampala association advocates, and Nangobi Lydia all alleged employees of Kampala Associated Advocates.

Other suspects are Nsamba Charles a Boda Boda cyclist, Damba Joshua, a staff of UMEME, Bogere Becker, unemployed, Sakwa Benard 24 unemployed, Bonny Joseph 37-year-old formerly UMEME staff, Katongole Bruno, electrician, Sebyooto Muwanga Ignatius UMEME driver, Nakiboneka Grace, manager Suremax, Golooba Edward, a farmer and the owner of SureMax guesthouse.

According to the Wamala regional police spokesperson, Ms Rachel Kawala, 14 of the suspects were got at Suremax guesthouse where they have allegedly been keeping the stolen electricity property, while the three were arrested from Gomba.

“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.”

Some of the recovered exhibits

Ms Kawala said the suspects are going to be charged with interference with meters, works or public lamps under Section 85A of the electricity Amendment Act, 2022 among other charges, adding that the operations would continue in a bid to end theft and vandalism of electric infrastructure across the region.

UMEME Speaks out

Mr Stephen Ilungole, the Communications Manager at Umeme Limited speaking of the incident denied that the suspects have never been 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 behaviour. 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.

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