The Minister for Transport Amos Kimunya has said the role of the chief investigator probing the cause of the helicopter crash that killed Internal Security minister George Saitoti, his deputy Orwa Ojodeh and five others will not be affected by changes at the ministry. In a statement, the minister said Clatus Macowenga's role at the commission will not be affected by the appointment of Captain Martyne Lunani as the new director of Air Accident Investigation Department.
The minister gazetted Capt Lunani as the Chief Inspector of Aircraft Accidents replacing Macowenga who had barely served for four months after the renewal of his contract following the Saitoti chopper crash. The appointment was announced through a Gazette Notice No. 12433 of September 7, 2012 and Lunani will now serve for a period of three years with effect from 18th July 2012.
Macowenga had only served in the position for three months after his tenure was renewed in yet another gazette notice of June 19, 2012. He is the lead investigator probing the crash that killed Saitoti, his deputy Orwa Ojode and four police officers. Kimunya stated that Lunani had replaced Macowenga as the boss in the department at the ministry and not at the Commission of Inquiry.
According to the statement, the Director position at the ministry had been vacant and Macowenga assumed leadership role of the department on acting basis. The statement further noted that the Public Service Commission advertised for the vacant post and four candidates including Macowenga, Nicholas Kithinji Muteti, Capt Lunani Luther and Stephen Gichuki Thogo were shortlisted for interviews.
"It is therefore a distortion of facts to insinuate that Capt Lunani's appointment will scuttle or interfere with the work of the Commission of Inquiry into the accident involving helicopter 5Y-CDT," read part of the statement. He said the department has been without a substantive Director in place since August 2010, after the expiry of Eng. Peter Wakahia tenure.
Mr. George Njau, Investigator in Chief (Operations) was appointed in an acting capacity as Director and subsequently gazetted as Chief Inspector of Aircraft Accidents from August 1, 2010 to serve for a period of three years. However, Njau resigned from the civil service on November 11, 2010 after serving for three months. The Minister substantially gazette Macowenga to be the Chief Inspector of Aircraft Accidents for a period of one year commencing January 5, 2012.