KETRACO managers headed to court as sabotage probe continues

Engineers repairing downed Kiambere-Embakassi power line. [Antony Gitonga, Standard]

More than 10 senior managers at Kenya Electricity Transmission Company (Ketraco) will next week be charged with economic crimes.

The officials, mainly from the department of operation and maintenance, have been accused of negligence following the vandalism of over 20 pylons along the Olkaria-Lessos-Kisumu power line.

This comes a day after President Uhuru Kenyatta ordered that managers from Kenya Power involved in last week’s countrywide blackout be charged with treason.

Officials from the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) led by Naivasha DCIO Adan Mohammed have camped at the company offices in Nairobi to record statements from the managers.

"The DCI officers have opened an inquiry file into the vandalism of the towers and any other officer who failed in his duty will definitely get to court," said Naivasha Deputy County Commissioner Mutua Kisilu.

Kisilu noted that the ongoing repair of the affected towers was nearly complete.

He added that though no suspect had been arrested, they were following some leads, terming those behind the incidents as worse than terrorists.

“Engineers from Ketraco have identified more towers that have been vandalised in Mirera and Mithuri estates and repair works are ongoing,” he said.

Kisilu confirmed that at least five senior managers from the transmission company had recorded statements.

Earlier, the PS for Energy Gordon Kihalangwa confirmed that any official found culpable of negligence would be charged in court with economic sabotage.

Speaking after inspecting the ongoing works, the PS noted that initial investigations pointed to a well-organized job targeting particular parts of the pylons.

“At the moment, we are not taking chances in our investigations and we are looking at all angles, including economic sabotage and vandalism by scrap metal dealers,” he said.

Already, nine senior managers from Kenya Power have been detained in police cells for eight days over the national blackout on January 11 caused by vandalism along the Embakasi high voltage power.