By A Correspondent- The Copper Control Act is being amended to make it illegal for one to be in possession of copper cables without a valid licence.
Those who will be found in possession of copper cables without a certificate of origin will face a mandatory 10-year prison sentence without the option of a fine, in a move meant to deter vandalism of key utilities.
The Copper Control Amendment Bill, which was gazetted on Friday, reads in part:
The vandalism of utilities through theft of copper cables has been exacerbated by the non-provision of specific offences in relation to these acts and non-deterrent penalties in the Copper Control Act.
In order to address the foregoing, the Copper Control Act should be amended to make it mandatory for all copper dealers to have certificates of origin for all the copper in their possession and impose minimum mandatory penalties for offenders.
The proposed amendments also provide for the forfeiture to the State of any vehicle or devices used to transport illegal copper upon conviction.
Clause 4 inserts a new section that makes it mandatory for all copper dealers to have a certificate of origin for all copper in their possession.
This certificate of origin will include the names and addresses of both the seller and the purchaser, the description of copper, quantity, reasons for disposal.
This section will further set a minimum mandatory sentence of ten (10) years without the option of a fine for failure to produce a certificate of origin.
For security reasons, the certificate must be endorsed by the police in the prescribed form and manner to be provided by the police.