Solai Dam Case resumes in a Naivasha court After 3 Years

Solai Dam Case resumes in a Naivasha court After 3 Years

BY JOAN WANJIKU,NAIROBI,14TH SEPT 2021-The hearing of a case against proprietors of the Milmet Solai Dams which claimed 48 lives in May 2018 was set to resume on Tuesday Nakuru County after delays triggered by failure by the prosecution to appear in court.

The case had dragged for three years with the court lashing at the Office of the Director of Public Prosecution (ODPP) for delaying the matter by failing to appear in the court in the previous hearings.

The Naivasha court blamed the ODPP noting that months since the case started, little progress had been made with adjournments being the order of the day.

Senior Principal Magistrate Lucy Njora will begin the session with the first witness who was set to testify at the scene of the incident.

“The prosecution will present two witnesses today who will be testifying at the scene of tragedy,” the ODPP tweeted.

The Solai farm owner Perry Manusukh and eight others were charged with 48 counts of manslaughter and failing to prepare an environmental impact assessment report.

Also charged in the case was the farm’s General Manager Vinoj Jaya Kumar and Nakuru County Water Director Johnson Kamau Njuguna.

Others were Water Resources Authority and National Environment Management Authority officers Luka Kipyegen, Winnie Muthoni, Jacinta Were, Tomkin Odo Odhiambo, Willie Omondi and Lynette Cheruiyot.

In February 2021, four suspects in the case lost their bid to halt their trial at the magistrate’s court after the Court of Appeal dismissed their application.

Justices William Ouko, Wanjiru Karanja and Martha Koome dismissed their application for stay, ruling that it failed to meet the threshold set in law.

The court noted that there were six other persons charged alongside the four before court who had not appealed.

It was the court’s view that if the criminal trial was stayed, the right of the other accused persons to a speedy trial would be compromised.

An investigation by Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC) found the Solai dam management culpable of causing the deaths of 48 people after the dam burst its embankments amid heavy rains on May 9, 2018.

The report by the human right organization also cited negligence from the National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA) and Water Resources Management Authority (WARMA).

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