Ugly truth about Solai dams revealed — PHOTOS - Daily Nation

State agencies lied to Senate on Solai dams: Mutula Jr

Saturday July 7 2018

Solai farm, Solai dam

Members of Senate committee visit one of the eight dams in Solai farm on July 6, 2018. One of the dams burst two months ago killing 47 people. PHOTO | MAGDALENE WANJA | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By MAGDALENE WANJA
More by this Author

Reports presented to the Senate by state agencies on the Patel dam tragedy and status of dams in Solai farm were false and did not depict the true picture of the rot that led to the deadly tragedy.

This was revealed on Friday when members of a Senate ad-hoc committee visited the expansive Patel farm to inspect the dams.

It was the first time the committee was allowed to inspect the dams two months after the tragedy struck killing 47 people.

The committee, led by Makueni Senator Mutula Kilonzo Junior, were accompanied by engineers from the Water Resources Authority (WRA) who claimed they had been barred from inspecting the dams and did not have access for years.

“The reports we got from the various agencies were not correct and the only correct information we got was from the Cabinet secretary which was detailed with pictures,” said Senator Kilonzo.

Patel dam that burst on May 9, 2018 killing 47

Patel dam that burst on May 9, 2018 killing 47 people. PHOTO | MAGDALENE WANJA | NATION MEDIA GROUP

LICENSING

Only one of the eight dams in the farm was licensed, a permit that was given before the Patels bought it from the previous owner.

The WRA officials were at pains to explain how they have been renewing licenses for the dams that do not meet required standards.

According to the engineers, the renewal of licenses was based on the first application made when the dams were constructed.

"We renewed the licenses based on the original inspection that we did to permit putting up the dam. If I had access to the farm, I would have stopped the works," said Mr Mwaniki, who is a technical officer at WRA.

Makueni Senator Mutula Kilonzo Junior (left)

Makueni Senator Mutula Kilonzo Junior (left) led a team in an inspection tour of dams in the expansive Solai farm in Nakuru on July 6, 2018 two months after one of the dams burst killing 47 people. PHOTO | MAGDALENE WANJA | NATION MEDIA GROUP

The committee also established that Patel dam owner had contravened the law by blocking two rivers which supplied water to Tinderet and Miliment dams within the farm, thus denying the locals access to the water.

“The dams were not in their original form when they were constructed because the owners went ahead and dug deeper and increased the capacity of the dams illegally. This was a deliberate action done by the owner with impunity, therefore, he is legally liable for all the damage,” said Mr Kilonzo Jr.

VICTIMS

The committee also met the victims of the dam tragedy.

In the highly emotional meeting, the victims narrated how the local administration allegedly refused to include them in the government compensation list and the recently distributed funds from the Patel farm management.

During the meeting, it emerged that one of the victims of the tragedy died on Thursday from injuries incurred during the disaster.

“During the issuance of the tokens by the Patel management, those who lost their kin were given Sh100,000 while landlords were given Sh1 million tokens,” said Mr Laban Yegon, a victim of the tragedy.

The victims alleged they were coerced to sign compensation forms.

“We were not allowed to read the documents and we only signed because of the presence of the administrator. We were not consulted,” said Ms Monica Wambui.

Nakuru Senator Susan Kihika who was this should not be treated as an accident because it was as a result

“There was more to it and it is not just an accident and they must be held accountable. The only license issued was for a weir [a low head dam],” said Ms Kihika.