Helicopter crash inquiry team sworn in
Posted Monday, July 2 2012 at 11:58
Members of a commission of inquiry investigating the helicopter crash that killed Internal Security Minister Prof George Saitoti, his assistant Orwa Ojode, two pilots and two bodyguards were sworn in Monday morning.
The commission, to be headed by Court of Appeal Judge Kalpana Rawal, was upgraded from a tribunal to a commission of inquiry to investigate the tragic crash.
The other commissioners sworn in were Maj Gen (Rtd) Harold Kangai, Capt Peter Maranga and Frederick Opot.
A fifth commissioner, Maj Gen (Rtd) Charles Wachira, was not sworn in on Monday as he was away on other duties.
Chief Inspector of Aviation Accidents Clatus MacOwenga will head the team providing technical assistance to the commission.
Speaking after the swearing in ceremony, Attorney General Githu Muigai said the government had decided to upgrade the tribunal to a commission of inquiry to broaden the scope of the investigating team and to ensure participation of all interested parties.
“We decided to upgrade to a commission of inquiry to cater for the issues that were being raised by the family and the helicopter manufactures and we are confident that we now have a good chance of getting to the bottom of this matter.
"We want to discourage speculation and assure Kenyans that this commission has unlimited powers to investigate and we hope it will shut down the rumour mills,” said the Attorney General.
Lady Justice Kalpana Rawal promised to unearth the cause of the crash and called on anyone with relevant information to submit it to the commission.
“ We have a preliminary report which we prepared after we begun investigations as a tribunal last week and we’ll take the legal steps to deter anyone causing unnecessary hindrance to the commission,” said Justice Rawal.
Following a request by the family lawyers of the deceased, the commission will tour the police air wing, where the commissioners and the lawyers will familiarize themselves with the site where the helicopter took off, and possibly inspect a Eurocopter helicopter if it is available.
On Tuesday morning, the members of the commission will oversee the retrieval of the wreckage from the crash site in the Ngong Forest.
Hearings are expected to start at the Kenyatta International Conference Centre on Wednesday .