Police arrest a scrap metal trader for vandalising SGR line

by Lawyer Wanz

Police in Makueni have apprehended a scrap metal trader who was involved in the damage of railway gauge blocks that caused SGR trains to be delayed on Monday, November 22.

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.


Also arrested at the store in the 11 am raid, was Lorry’s driver Nicodemus Kyove, 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.

Police say the disappearance of the critical blocks led to the stoppage 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 read in part.

Police say the suspects will face Economic Sabotage and Terrorism related charges which are seriously adding that it will serve as a warning to any other person/s harbouring the idea of vandalizing railway property.

In other news, When Kenya secured a $3.2 billion loan from China in 2014 to construct the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) connecting its capital Nairobi and the port city of Mombasa, critics termed the project costly and worried about its debt burden on Kenya.

The agreement was always deemed overpriced by independent observers and there have long been questions about how the deal was structured, but now in the middle of a growing global economic crisis, those questions have become more pointed and urgent about the very financial viability of the project.

There’s also the question of whether Kenya will be able to repay the Chinese loans which have topped $4.7 billion after the line was expanded in 2015 for another $1.5 billion by 75 miles to Naivasha, a town northwest of Nairobi, in the Rift Valley.

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