The National Police has issued a tough warning of severe consequences to whoever will be caught in such acts that involve vandalizing electric pylons and those selling them as scarp metals.
The warning follows a case in Gatsibo District where three suspects are being held at Kabarore Police station in connection with vandalizing public infrastructure.
The three suspects are identified as, Jean Pierre Nsengiyumva, Evariste Hakiza and Laetitia arrested for vandalizing five electric pylons weighing over 500kgs that had been rolled out by NPD Ltd.
Of the three, Nsengiyumva and Hakiza were said to be the main culprits who could dismantle the pylons and sell into pieces to Urimubandi who deals in scrap metal business.
According to a report from police, the trio was arrested following complaints filed by NPD in regards to the disappearing pylons.
“Preliminary investigations led us to the two men who had vendalised five pylons. We arrested them along with the buyer Urimubandi,” said the Eastern Region Police Spokesperson Inspect of Police Jean Bosco Dusabe.
NPD has since valued the five pylons at Rwf 52 million but Nsengiyumva and Hakiza were selling a kilo at Rwf300 meaning they had sold the five pylons weight 500kg at just Rwf150,000.
Upon arrest, the two men admitted to have vendalised the pylons and said they had been sent by Urimubandi.
“Also, during the operation, we impounded FUSO RAA 962Y that we found carrying pieces of the dismantled pylons,” said the spokesperson who added that investigations are still going on to identify if no other public infrastructures have been damaged and also process the their files for prosecution.
IP Dusabe also issued a tough warning against vandalising public infrastructure and also hailed employees of NPD who hurriedly reported the case.
Such acts, he said, are punishable under article 406 of the penal code on “demolishing or damaging another person’s buildings.”
“These infrastructures are meant to improve the welfare and development of the people as well as facilitate doing business, so it should be guarded jealously by everyone. When one starts digging up electric pylons, then that person is endangering lives of thousands,” he said.
Police also warned of severe consequences to whoever will be caught in such acts, which, IP Dusabe said, affect the country’s development programmes and at times lead to loss of lives as some people are electrocuted while stealing the pylons.
Emmanuel Ruzindana , the head of security at NPD in the Eastern region said they pylons were being stolen at night and it was hard to identify how they were disappearing and that’s when they involved the police.
Officials from Energy Utility Corporation Limited (EUCL), Gatsibo branch, said such illegal activities cost the government a lot of monies while serving the public becomes harder when infrastructures are vandalized.
The last case of ravaging public infrastructure was heard in April last year in Huye District where police arrested three men in connection with stealing underground electric cables connecting Huye mineral water plant in Ngoma Sector.