A Kenyan man accused of selling potato chips fried with transformer oil was sentenced to two years in prison or pay a fine of Ksh.200,000 (around $1,500). According to Citizen Digital, authorities found 11 liters of transformer oil in Elijah Mwangi Muthoga’s possession when he was arrested in December 2021. The accused man runs a hotel in the East African nation.
Besides using the toxic transformer oil to fry potato chips before selling them, the toxic fluid was also repackaged and sold as popcorn oil, court documents stated. The individual who provided the transformer oil was sentenced to 10 years in prison or pay a KShs. 10 million (around $77,000) fine.
“This ruling is a big boost to the Company’s effort to fight transformer vandalism as the stiff penalties and jail terms will deter vandals,” Kenya Power’s Ag. Manager for Security Services Maj. Paul Nyaga (Rtd) said.
Kenya Power also stated that one of the main reasons behind power outages in the East African nation was vandalism on transformers. “In addition to undermining the quality and reliability of the electricity supply, transformer vandalism poses a risk of electrocution and exposes the Company to financial losses in lost sales and the cost of replacing the transformers,” Kenya Power said.
As previously reported by Face2Face Africa, Kenya Power also said the thieves who extract the toxic fluids pass them on to cartels who later sell them as cooking oil to restaurants and roadside stalls.
Officials said the upsurge in vandalism is because of the increasing price of cooking oil. As a result, businesses are adopting unconventional methods to remain in business. Although cooking oil and transformer oil look similar, health experts warn the latter is dangerous for human consumption and causes grave health risks.