A man has been handed a two-year jail term for stealing a Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) metallic pole worth Ksh30,000.
Ali Badi Chumvi alias Swaleh Hussein was convicted after he pleaded guilty to the offence when he appeared before Justice Mutuku at a Mombasa High Court.
He also confessed that he had been previously jailed for eight months for vandalising and stealing an SGR line.
"A Mombasa court jailed a man for 2 years for stealing an SGR metallic pole worth Sh30k. Ali Badi Chumvi alias Swaleh Hussein pleaded guilty & confessed to have been previously jailed for 8 months for vandalising & stealing SGR line," a statement by the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP) reads in parts.
While delivering judgement on the case, Justice Mutuku affirmed that the accused's actions were a threat to the safety of the SGR and that he was not remorseful.
On the other hand, Chumvi's co-accused, Boniface Ngonda, pleaded not guilty and was released on a Ksh200,000 bond with one surety with an alternative of Ksh100,000 cash bail.
The case will be mentioned on November 29, 2022, for pre-trial.
A Mombasa court jailed a man for 2 years for stealing an SGR metallic pole worth Sh30k. Ali Badi Chumvi alias Swaleh Hussein pleaded guilty & confessed to have been previously jailed for 8 months for vandalising & stealing SGR line. #HakiNaUsawa pic.twitter.com/qy7RRBbNG4— Office of The Director Of Public Prosecutions (@ODPP_KE) November 17, 2022
The latest comes months after police in Makueni arrested a scrap metal dealer responsible for vandalism of railway gauge blocks which occasioned the delay of SGR services on Monday, November 22, 2021.
According to police, Michael Mbevi was arrested on the morning of Saturday, November 27, at his scrap metal store in Kinyambu, Mtito-Andei as he loaded the gauge blocks into a lorry destined for the lucrative scrap metal market.
The Lorry’s driver Nicodemus Kyove, was also arrested as he desperately attempted to escape.
"The arrest of the two suspects followed a tip-off from a patriotic member of the public who informed Railway Police officers and DCI detectives engaged in an operation to recover the vandalized blocks and arrest of the suspects," the police statement read in part.
At the time, police said the disappearance of the critical blocks led to the halt of operations along the busy railway line for two hours, as railway engineers and security officers inspected the extent of the damage caused to the critical national transport infrastructure.
"The greed by scrap metal dealers to make quick profits through the sale of the gauge blocks which ensure that the width of the railway line is maintained could have led to devastating consequences including the derailment of a train," the police statement added.
In a similar incident that happened in 2020, four people were arrested after they were caught vandalizing sections of the standard gauge railway in Kajiado County.
The suspected vandals were found vandalizing the SGR bridge on Magadi Road on the way to Kiserian Sub-County.
"The vandals were loosening the guardrails on the bridge and carting away the metal pipes, "Kenya Railways Managing Director, Philip Mainga said.
Mainga warned against vandalizing the railway, saying such actions compromise the safety of SGR operations and put at risk the lives of passengers and staff.
"Any person found vandalizing railway property is guilty of a felony and liable to prosecution," Mainga said adding that the full measures of the law would be followed in handling the matter