By Ally Jamah
Crucial inspections of the helicopter that killed former Internal Security Minister George Saitoti, his deputy, and four police officers were done without the manufacturer’s manual.
The Commission of Inquiry probing the crash heard on Wednesday that the manual to guide key inspections was not available until June, six months after the plane was delivered, meaning key inspections may have been done without technical guidance.
This revelation, made by Engineer Michael Wafula, who is in charge of technical records, indicated at least 80 inspections have been done on the plane since it was delivered last December without using the recommended manual.
“The manufacturer did not give us copies of the authenticated manuals when they delivered the plane. They said they were still reviewing and updating it,” he told the probe team led by Appellate Judge Kalpana Rawal.
In response to cross-examination from Senior State Counsel Lucy Kambuni and lawyer Fred Ngatia, Wafula indicated the soft-copy that Eurocopter e-mailed them in June has been difficult to access and print out copies for the engineers and technicians.
“We were using the flight manual instead of the manufacturer’s manual. Eurocopter indicated it would deliver it soon after the plane arrived in Kenya but they delayed.”
Another witness who appeared at the probe was Moses Mulinge, a technician with the Airwing, who could not confirm whether the fuel used in the ill-fated copter was contaminated or not.
In his testimony, he indicated that he only conducted a visual test of the fuel sample he obtained from the main tanks before storing it away.
“We have kept the sample of the fuel as is normally the practice. The inspection was only visual. We didn’t conduct any other tests,” he said.