Addis Abeba — Ethiopia has lost more than 26 million birr worth of railway infrastructure to theft since the year 2021, Ethiopian Electric Utility (EEU) said.
According to the state owned electric utility, a total of 16,402 meters of transmission cable has been stolen since last year alone. The Addis Abeba Light Rail Electricity Supply Coordinating Manager, Bultuma Kitata, said that the loss was estimated to be more than 26 million birr.
Bultuma further said that the theft of electricity supply infrastructure from Addis Abeba Light Rail Transit Service has reached alarming levels. The theft on electrical infrastructure for the city railway has not only slowed down the country's economy but also disrupted rail services, he added.
Most of the theft of railway infrastructure was taking place in Kirkos, Nifas Silk, Yeka, Lideta, Akaki Kaliti and Lemi kura sub-cities in the capital Addis Abeba, according to the manager.
Although the Addis Abeba Light Rail was cooperating with the City Administration security forces to prevent the escalation of such thefts, the problem has reached alarming levels as measures being taken against the perpetrators were not adequately educating.
Tariku Maeregu, Addis Abeba Electric Service Legal Department Manager, on his part said that although various proclamations have been put in place to prevent theft of electricity infrastructure, the practice continued at alarming rate in Addis Abeba where huge amount of public resources are being looted.
During the 11 months of the 2021-2022 Ethiopian budget year, more than 37 theft and vandalism offenses were committed against the Addis Abeba Light Rail electrical infrastructure and legal procedures were initiated against the suspects in various sub-city police departments where the suspects are being investigated and prosecuted.
Tariku cautioned that anyone found guilty of theft of electrical infrastructure will be charged with aggravated robbery under Article 669 of the Penal Code and sentenced to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 15 years.
The Addis Abeba City Light Rail Transit service said the public can use 905 Free Call Center to report theft incidents or report to the local security forces.