Police in Gatsibo District is holding three people in connection with vandalizing electric pylons that they sell as scrap metals.
The three suspects who are held at Kabarore Police station are, Jean Pierre Nsengiyumva, Evariste Hakiza and Laetitia. They are accused of vandalizing five electric pylons weighing over 500kgs that had been rolled out by NPD Cotraco.
Of the three, Nsengiyumva and Hakiza were the main thieves and could dismantle the pylons and sell the pieces to Urimubandi who deals in scrap metal business.
According to the police, the trio was arrested following complaints filed by NPD Cotraco regarding disappearing pylons.
“Preliminary investigations led us to the two men who had vandalized five pylons. We arrested them along with the buyer Urimubandi,” said the Eastern Region Police Spokesperson Inspector of Police (IP) Jean Bosco Dusabe.
NPD Cotraco 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 having vandalized the pylons and said they had been sending 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 their files for prosecution.
IP Dusabe also issued a tough warning against vandalizing public infrastructure and also hailed employees of NPD Cotraco 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 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 programs and at times lead to loss of lives as some people are electrocuted while stealing the pylons.
Emmanuel Ruzindana, the head of security at Cotraco 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.
“When we reported the case, Police worked with residents of Kabarore and arrested the thieves. We are grateful for all the invested in bringing this person to justice and protecting public infrastructures,” he said.
He added that; “This is a loss to everyone, right from the country to the last consumer because the money that should be spent on other public infrastructures will be channeled to putting up new pylons and rehabilitate those that have been destroyed.”
Officials from Energy Utility Corporation Limited (EUCL), Gatsibo branch, said such illegal activities cost the government a lot of money while serving the public becomes harder when infrastructures are vandalized.
The last case of vandalisation of 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.
The Express News Rwanda