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    I'm no power line guard, says KPLC engineer


    January 28, 2022 - The Star

     

      Ndolo said he has been singled out for prosecution from among dozens of employees yet he is not in charge of physical security of power lines.

      He said President Uhuru Kenyatta had statements in apparent effort to influence the intended criminal charges.

      Kenya Power Company and Kenya Electricity Transmission Company staff repair one of the four electricity towers that crashed in the Longonot area of Naivasha cutting off power supply to the national grid on December 22, 2021.

      Kenya Power Company and Kenya Electricity Transmission Company staff repair one of the four electricity towers that crashed in the Longonot area of Naivasha cutting off power supply to the national grid on December 22, 2021.

      Image: GEORGE MURAGE

      A Kenya Power engineer has claimed the vandalism charges levelled against him, and which caused a countrywide power outage have been framed in an attempt to push him out of office.

      In a petition before the High Court, network management general manager Raphael Ndolo Kimeu said he has been singled out for prosecution from among dozens of employees, yet he is not in charge of physical security of power lines.

      He argued that when the vandalism occurred on December 9, he was not part of the senior management of the company. He worked as an engineer and his job description entailed power distribution and not physical security.

      Ndolo said he only assumed the position of general manager on December 15 last year after the alleged incidents of vandalism of Kenya Power infrastructure occurred.

      'It is ironic that an electrical engineer is facing criminal charges for alleged failure to prevent vandalism and theft of public infrastructure whose task falls squarely in the hands of law enforcement agencies such as DCI,' he said.

      Ndolo filed the petition seeking to challenge his pre-charge detention.

      From his petition, he also sought to quash the DCI recommendation to charge and any decision of the DPP to prefer criminal charges against him arising from the alleged incidents of vandalism of the petitioner's employer's infrastructure.

      He alleged President Uhuru Kenyatta made statements in an effort to influence the intended criminal charges.

      President Kenyatta said incidents of vandalism "are acts of nothing less than economic sabotage which falls as a treasonable act and the law is very clear as to how you deal with individuals who commit treasonable acts.'

      Vandalism of public infrastructure, he added, had been rampant throughout the country, fuelled by the trade in scrap metal. Uhuru banned the trade.

      Ndolo said attempts by the President to label them (acts of vandalism) economic sabotage, terrorism and treasonable acts is solely meant to sensationalise the incidents and influence the criminal charges.

      The Kenya Power engineer was charged alongside chief engineer transmission and distribution David Kamau and assistant engineer Julius Karani on Wednesday over the nationwide blackout that affected the country two weeks ago.

      The charge sheet revealed their charges as wilful sabotage and failing to maintain and neglect the energy company's infrastructure.

      The high voltage lines are used for the supply of electricity to Kenyan citizens. The vandalism led to the collapse of towers located at Imara Daima in Embakasi South within Nairobi.

      Ndolo and his co-accused are out on a cash bail of Sh1 million.

      Six other officers who were being probed over the same were freed due to lack of sufficient evidence.

      They are chief engineer transmission network George Korir, manager security Geoffrey Kigen, technician Antony Gathii, senior security officer (Nairobi region) Martin Musyoki, Joshua Wasakha (driver) and chief security officer Peter Musyoki.

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