Rampant vandalism of electricity devices has become a major drawback to electricity projects in Machakos County.
A local Kenya Power Company Engineer Calvin Kangogo, speaking during the County Development Implementation and Coordination Committee (CDICC) meeting held at the County Commissioner’s Boardroom Thursday, said the vandals were mostly targeting transformers and street light lamps.
Kangogo revealed that in the last six months, 33 operational transformers had either been vandalized or stolen.
“There is a lot of technical know-how about these gadgets out there, and we suspect this is being utilized by some unscrupulous people to commit this particular crime,” he told members of the committee.
On the theft of street light lamps, Kangogo disclosed that the department lost 33 of them which had been installed recently along the Machakos-Kitui road.
However, the Engineer pointed out that Kenya Power Company was working closely with security agents in the region to arrest the culprits and curb the worrying trend that has been gaining momentum in the recent past, thus affecting innocent consumers and government initiatives like the last mile connectivity programme.
Accordingly, the County Criminal Investigations Department boss Lenny Kisaka told the meeting that they have already arrested and detained some suspects in connection with the vice.
“We are talking to them so that we can unmask the hidden faces behind this crime, with a view to stopping this bad habit for good,” he said, adding that it was highly suspected that the vandals were working in cahoots with some retired or current Kenya Power staff.
At the same time, Kangogo warned Kenyans to be wary of anybody purporting to work for Kenya Power, noting that many fraudsters were using the company’s name to con unsuspecting citizens.
He urged Kenyans to always demand for staff identification card number from anyone who claims to be the company employee and authenticate their status by sending the details as a short code to 95551.
The CDICC group also received reports on the status of several roads being undertaken by the government in the county.
However, the committee expressed disappointment over the slow progress by contractors working on Katumani-Vota-Konza, Kangundo-Kwakyele and the Kenol-Ngoleni-Kaani/Mutituni-Kaseve and Ekalakala-Matuu roads.
The meeting noted that construction work on some of the roads had not even started or had remained virtually stalled long after their dates of commencement.
“The government is not getting value for its money, and we may have to involve investigators to unearth how most of these contractors won the tenders in the first place, yet they don’t seem to have capacity to carry out the expected works,” warned the area County Commissioner Esther Maina who also chairs the committee.
The Lower Eastern Director of the Presidential Delivery Unit (PDU) Larry Mulomi also attended the meeting.
By Justus Keesi