JINJA – Kiira Region Police have confirmed the arrest of Edward Katongole, a Kampala-based scrap dealer accused of participating in the illegal sale of vandalised electricity equipment.
Katongole was arrested from his hideout in Seguku along Kampala- Entebbe road before being transferred to Jinja central police station for further interrogation.
His arrest came after police impounded two truckloads of suspected vandalised electricity conductors, which were being offloaded at the Jinja city-based Giant Steel factory on Christmas Eve. Officers from Jinja Central Police Station tracked the vehicles ferrying the electrical conductors, which were first sighted in Mabira along the Jinja-Kampala highway following a tipoff from informants attached to the Electricity Regulatory Authority – ERA.
Katongole and other suspects still at large, fled after being tasked to produce the documents relating to the consignment after claiming that they had legally bought the electrical conductors from UMEME’s Lugogo-based disposal plant.
Kiira Region Police Spokesperson, James Mubi, said that a team of detectives from the police cyber department mounted a search for Katongole using his phone number and managed to trace him in Seguku. They immediately teamed up with the territorial police authorities in the area to arrest him from his hideout.
He added that detectives were liaising with engineers from Umeme to ascertain the source of the vandalised electricity conductors, their measurements, and the losses accrued.
According to Mubi, the managers of the Giant Steel factory had closed for Christmas holidays but would be interrogated upon their return on the source of the cables.
He said that the suspects face three counts of theft, illegal sale of government infrastructure, and vandalism of electricity conductors. Mubi noted that Jinja was home to about five steel factories that provide a ready market for the vandalised electricity infrastructure.
In his statement, Katongole refuted the allegations levelled against him insisting that he legally bought the electrical conductors from the Umeme disposal plant and other undisclosed sources from neighbouring countries.
Additional reporting by URN