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How officials made Sh100m by vandalising Nairobi rail line

Vandals continue to hurt operations on the Nairobi-Kisumu railway line with the theft of bars and sleepers from tracks.

“Our investigations indicate that senior government officials and railway police officers along the line are involved in the syndicate of vandalising railway equipment and selling it to scrap metal dealers in Kisumu and Eldoret,” Nakuru Railways Officer Commanding Police Division (OCPD) Justina Ndinda Nzivo said.

Railway bars and sleepers worth more than Sh100 million have been stolen by vandals along the Nakuru-Kisumu railway line, in a scheme police blame on unscrupulous metal dealers.

Ms Nzivo said there has been increased theft of railway parts since January.

Police last week arrested a suspected kingpin of the vandalism and recovered 162 pieces of rail bars and 52 sleepers. A lorry ferrying the bars was also seized during the 3am operation.

RARELY CONVICTED

Non-punitive fines and punishment have partly fuelled vandalism of railways and other critical infrastructure in the country.

“The police have impounded consignment of stolen railways materials valued valued at millions, but suspects are rarely convicted by courts,” lamented Ms Nzivo.

A spot check showed that disused railway lines such as the one that once linked Nakuru and Solai have also been vandalised.

The rail system there collapsed several decades ago when sisal growing was abandoned.

In 2009 the Rift Valley Railways (RVR) engaged a private firm Ninon Engineering Works Limited to work on a section of the Nakuru-Kisumu line to repair six vandalised bridges, including that in Elburgon and Molo at more than Sh17 million.

The government has renewed its push for the enactment of an anti-vandalism Bill proposed by the Attorney General in 2012 to curb the vice.

SOURCE: Business Daily