Court jails Nairobi’s notorious street lights vandal for 3 years



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When Kennedy Amollo Odhiambo, a father of one, was last Thursday sentenced to three years in jail for vandalising street lights in Nairobi, it not only brought to light one of the masters of darkness but also a notorious vandal responsible for making the city paths unsafe to walk along in the dark.

Pleas by Mr Odhiambo to be pardoned were rejected by Kibera Chief Magistrate Joyce Gandani who noted that he was a repeat offender.

The young man was found guilty of a similar offence last year and was put on probation for six months.

This time, the court said he deserved no mercy.

Information provided by Kenya Power shows that the company has spent over Sh5.5 billion on street lighting in Nairobi County.

But vandals have been busy reversing the gains by stealing street lamps, transformers and wires.

During the 2017/2018 financial year, the company said some 100 transformers costing Sh24.5 million were vandalised.

In the current financial year, vandals made away with 73 transformers valued at Sh20 million.

The costs, according to Kenya Power, include material cost of the transformers, loss of sales and other incidental costs.

And although the cases have reduced over the years, vandalism of transformers, conductors and other power line accessories is still being reported, according to the power utility firm.

Other than the case before the Kibera court, three other incidents of street lights vandalism were reported and cost Kenya Power Sh837,000.

The cases were reported in Kirigu within Dagoretti and in Thome.

The company said the number of transformers vandalised during the year reduced to 100, down from 133 the previous year and from a high of 535 four years ago, representing a cumulative 81.3 per cent decline.

In Odhiambo’s case, the court noted that the probation period was yet to lapse when he was arrested with 13 LED street lamps valued at Sh390,000.

He pleaded with the magistrate that he was the sole breadwinner for his family and father of a three-month-old baby.

But Ms Gandani rejected his plea.

The prosecutor told the court that Administration Police officers from Mutuini AP Post were on patrol when they arrested Odhiambo together with Joseph Muchiri in November last year.

They were carrying the lamps and when questioned, they took the officers to their home where 10 more lamps were recovered.


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