RUKUNGIRI: Staff from National Water and Sewerage Corporation (NWSC) and officers of Uganda Police Force (UPF) have arrested two men suspected to have been stealing and vandalizing water equipment at the Kahengye Water Project in Rukungiri District.
Keneth Muhumuza, aged 22, a resident of Omukijungu in Mbarara Municipality and Umaru Nuwamanya, aged 30, a resident of Kekuubo in Kabale Municipality, ran out of luck last Friday after they were caught during a security operation commanded by the Rukungiri Resident District Commissioner (RDC) Stephen Nsubuga Bewayo.
Muhumuza and Nuwamanya were arrested in Buyanja Town Council after residents saw them carrying a sack full of water equipment suspected to have been stolen from the Kahengye Water Project.
Funded by the World Bank and the Government of Uganda (GoU) to the tune of Shs44bn, the Kahengye Water Project is expected to produce 9.6 million litres of water daily to solve supply challenges in Rukungiri District. But vandalism and theft of equipment have threatened the project.
NWSC’s Technical Supervisor for Buyanja, Richard Mugisha, noted that the theft and vandalism of equipment at the multi-billion Kahengye Water Project had affected the project, costing it at least Shs50m.
Muhumuza was arrested by locals and security after a scuffle, but his colleague, Nuwamanya, escaped only to be nabbed hours later while hiding in a lodging facility in Rukungiri’s Buyanja Town Council where Muhumuza led security operatives.
Upon interrogation, Nuwamanya said he was a mast fibre technician while it emerged that Muhumuza was a banana (Matooke) vendor.
The water utility, whose Managing Director is Eng Dr Silver Mugisha, has in recent months intensified efforts to apprehend vandals of its equipment and infrastructure as well as water thieves that connive with dishonest staff to make it lose billions every month.
Through joint operations that involve staff from the Water Loss Prevention Unit (WALOPU), police officers and members of the public, a number of suspected thieves and vandals have been arrested and arraigned before the Utility Court.