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Senate committee condemns delayed justice for Solai dam victims

Thursday December 5 2019

Susan Kihika

Nakuru Senator Susan Kihika. She expressed concern that instead of the DPP prosecuting the owner of the Solai dam, victims were being frustrated. FILE PHOTO | NATION MEDIA GROUP  

SAMWEL OWINO
By SAMWEL OWINO
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Senators have blamed the Director of Public Prosecutions and Interior CS Fred Matiang’i for the slow pace of prosecuting Mr Mansukhlal Patel, the owner of Solai Dam, which caused the death of 47 people after its walls collapsed in May last year.

Senate’s Justice and Legal Affairs committee Thursday said 18 months after the tragedy, families that lost their kin are yet to be compensated and the perpetrators are walking freely.

'NO GOODWILL'

The senators also questioned the whereabouts of Sh1 billion that the government released for the affected families through the Red Cross, but the money did not get to the beneficiaries.

“Small-scale traders and landlords operating in Solai shopping centre have never been compensated for the losses incurred from the floods as well as former workers at the Patel farm.

"Some who had worked for eight years were dismissed after the tragedy without any allowances and are now languishing without a source of livelihood,” said Nandi Senator Samson Cherargei.

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The committee accused the DPP, Dr Matiang’i and other State agencies of ignoring a report by an ad hoc committee that was chaired by Makueni Senator Mutula Kilonzo Jnr.

The senators accused government agencies of handling the matter in a casual manner.

“There is a general reluctance and attitude and lack of goodwill by government agencies and they must be condemned in no uncertain terms for abdicating their roles,” Mr Cherargei said.

Nakuru Senator Susan Kihika expressed concern that instead of the DPP prosecuting the owner of the dam, victims were being frustrated.

“It is sad that no agency is doing what they are supposed to do, it is immoral to occupy public office and look the other way as people are suffering,” she said.

Mr Mutula Jnr urged the Interior ministry to ensure that all the victims are compensated.

Narok Senator Ledama ole Kina asked the Interior CS and DPP to respect the decision of Parliament and ensure that its reports are implemented.