The Chief Magistrate Court in Jinja has sentenced three vandals to a five year term in jail for interfering with the electricity installations along the Owenfalls-Tororo 132kV transmission line.

The vandals Kakaire Umar, Waisswa Hasuman and Kikaka Musa were arrested last year within Kakira sugar cane plantation while cutting angle bars from the line.

Section/s 87(1) and (2) of the Electricity Act and theft c/s 254 of the Penal Code Act found the accused guilty.

Others Okello Ronald and Mpamba Abdul alias Ndoya were acquitted of the above offences. However, Mpamba Abdul was further sentenced to two years in prison for attempting to escape during the period when he was on remand.

Vandalism is an infrastructure terrorism act that impacts negatively on the effort by the government to meet the objective of a reliable, flexible and efficient and quality power supply for social and economic growth.

The vandals have stolen transformer oil, tower angle bars, nuts and earth wires on the grid threatening the country with possible blackout.

In 2014, at least 14,500 electricity customers were left in darkness after a section of power transmission line from Mbale district to the North collapsed because of vandalism.

Reports from Uganda Electricity Transmission Company Limited (UETCL) indicate that the company has spent more than shillings 1 billion since 2013 replacing stolen electricity equipment in Kampala, Mabira forest, Lugazi & Kakiri sugar cane plantations, Bugiri and Toro areas.

Court handed back to UETCL the eighteen pieces of angle bars that had been tendered in as exhibits during the proceedings.

To guard against further power infrastructure vandalism, UETCL has found an opportunity to pattern with various cultural institutions, administrative units and community policing in the region to protect the national assets.

Sensitization of the local communities has been done along the transmission line corridors.

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