Telkom Kenya seeks stiffer penalties for cable vandals

December 18, 2009

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 18 – Telkom Kenya has once again raised an alarm over the rising cases of telecommunications cable vandalism that now threatens to bring down the firm’s multi billion shillings infrastructure.

Persistent copper and fibre optic cable vandalism cases have been occasioning Telkom Kenya a monthly loss of more than Sh42 million accruing from maintenance and security costs of its infrastructure.

This has also caused its customers to suffer innumerable service interruptions, economic losses and frustration.

Alongside the vandalism, Telkom Kenya has also reiterated its stiff opposition against the handing down of lax penalties for suspects arrested in connection with vandalism.

Coming on the back of such an arrest over the weekend in Kitengela township and the subsequent release on bond of the six suspects, Telkom Kenya Chief Executive Officer Mr Mickael Ghossein has registered a strong petition imploring the government to mete out stiffer penalties and sentences on vandal suspects noting that these were criminals out to sabotage communications which is a very important element of everyday life and the economy.

The continued release of suspects on light bonds Mr Ghossein said was working against the industry fight to eliminate vandalism cases. Given the amount of resources telecommunication companies have put in the last few years on infrastructure the government needs to play a more proactive role through its law reinforcement arms to stamp out the growing vice.

“At present, we are registering close to 50 vandalism incidences a month with more than 50 percent of these directly affecting major fibre optic lines thus affecting both voice and data service delivery to several customers. To say the least, it’s disheartening to see suspected vandals released on bond so soon after arrest yet their criminal actions continue to wreck havoc on the general economy besides the obvious loss on Telkom Kenya,” Mr Ghossein said.

And added: “With revenue losses running upwards of Sh200 million annually, Telkom Kenya will continue engaging government and stakeholders to ensure fair play is guaranteed in this environment, we will also continue to lobby for vandalism to be classified as a major offense with stiffer penalties meted out on the culprits which we believe will work as a critical deterrent measure.”

During the Kitengela heist over the weekend near Athi River town, Telkom Kenya security officers apprehended six suspects who included: Moses Wainaina Njoroge, Benjamin Waithaka Nzuki, Dan Gitonga Wanjau, Kioko Mweu Githika and Isaac Mbingu Gachukia.
The six suspects who were arraigned before the Machakos Magistrate’s court were however released on bond on Monday with their case set for hearing on December 28.

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