PEOPLE who vandalise energy and communication installations will now face stiffer sanctions after Parliament passed the Energy and Communication Law (Amendment) Bill 2011 yesterday. MPs unanimously passed the Bill that amends various laws that contain offences relating to protection of communications and energy apparatus from damage.
MPs hailed the Bill as timely and long overdue and urged the government to act firmly against those who vandalise power transformers. They said vandalism of power cables, transformers and fibre optic cables has led to economic decline and welcomed the stiffer penalties to stem economic decline. The Bill, which was moved by Karachuonyo MP James Rege, also seeks to control the scrap metal business.
Vandalism is officially an economic crime with those found guilty facing a jail term of up to one year, Sh500,000 fine or serve both. People who sever any telecommunication apparatus with intent to steal, commit an offence if found guilty will pay a fine of Sh5 million, serve a jail term of 10 years or do both. "This stiff penalty is necessary because the decline of vandalism will lead to steady growth of the economy and accelerate the rural electrification programme," Rege said.
Pubic Works Minister Chris Obure said the menace of vandalism must be tackled firmly and mercilessly because it is economic sabotage. Otichillo said there should be no mercy to scrap metals dealers who buy vandalised materials and proposed that penalties should be increased from Sh500,000 to Sh1 million. The Bill now goes to third reading.