Kenya: Patel Dam Owners Charged With Manslaughter

Kensalt Limited and Patel Coffee Estates Limited MD Perry Mansukh Kansagara (right) and Estate General Manager Vinoj jayakumar inside a Naivasha courtroom on July 5, 2018.

Two managers of Patel Estates, owners of the dam that collapsed and killed 47 people in Nakuru in May, were on Thursday charged with manslaughter in a Naivasha court.

The estates' Managing Director Perry Mansukh Kansagara and General Manager Vinoj Jaya Kumar were detained until Friday pending bond ruling.

Nakuru County Water Director Johnson Njuguna was also arraigned in court over the dam tragedy.

CHARGES

The three appeared before Naivasha Principal Magistrate Joseph Karanja and faced 47 counts of manslaughter each.

Mr Kansagara faced two more counts of neglect for failing to present an environmental impact assessment report of the killer dam and others in the expansive farm in Solai.

Mr Njuguna also faced one more count of neglect of duty.

They all denied all the charges.

They are among nine people the Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji wanted arrested over the tragedy that shook the nation.

Prosecutor Catherine Mwaniki asked the court to issue a warrant of arrest for six other people who have not been charged as directed by DPP Noordin Haji.

The prosecutor also opposed release on bond of the three saying they are flight risks and that they can easily influence the judicial process.

She said because the matter is of public interest, the three should be denied bond.

But lawyer Evans Monari for the Patel Estate managers asked the court to grant his clients reasonable bond arguing that it is their constitutional right.

"The bond terms are guided by the strict tenets of the Kenyan Constitution," Mr Monari said.

The court ruled that the three be remanded at the Naivasha Police Station until tomorrow when the court will give further orders and directions.

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