NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 22 – Police and the Kenya Power and Lighting Company (KPLC) officials have unearthed a racket where oil siphoned from the utility company’s transformers is being sold as motor oil products.
The combined force raided two premises at Kariobangi light industries in Nairobi and uncovered the illicit packaging trade where the oil was to be re-sold as a genuine product from major oil marketing firms.
"This is a major breakthrough," exclaimed the KPLC Chief Manager for Distribution Eng. John Ombui, when he-inspected transformer oil drums waiting to be packaged in containers bearing fake Caltex and Shell companies\’ trade marks.
Ten suspects were arrested and were to be arraigned in court on Wednesday.
Eng Ombui said KPLC stood to lose transformers worth Sh2 billion this year if transformer vandalism went unchecked.
In the last financial year, he said, the company spent about Shl.2 billion to replace vandalised transformers.
Terming the vice as economic sabotage, the manager commended members of the public for giving information that facilitated the arrest of several suspects.
Vigilance by the public had, in many cases, also forestalled vandalism of power systems equipment.
He noted that since a suspect was arrested five days ago during investigations that led to the raids on Tuesday, vandals had gone underground and no transformer theft had been reported in Nairobi during the period.
In the meantime, KPLC urged oil marketing firms to safeguard the interests of the motoring public by ensuring products sold at their outlets were genuine.
Motorists have also been urged to take a keen interest in the oil products they buy and where they are purchased.