Owner of Patel killer dam speaks out

Patel dam
Mansukhlal Kansagra Patel [Photo/courtesy]
Farmer and industrialist Mansukhlal Kansagra Patel insists his dams, one of which killed 48 people in Solai Nakuru, County, are legitimate

Businessman Perry Mansukhlal Kansagra Patel, the owner of Patel dam that burst its wall last week killing 48 people says all the dams on his farms are legal and have been undergoing regular inspection by government agencies.

Patel maintains that his dams have all statutory approvals, adding that the Patel dam tragedy may have been as a result of heavy rainfall that knocked tree trunks, roots and heavy boulders that broke walls of the dam.

"All the dams are legal, they have proper permission from authorities of the Water Department, we have all their proper permission and we have been paying all the fees on time. They (authorities) have continuously been coming to look and inspect the dams," Patel said during an interview with one of the local TV stations.

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He wondered why authorities are now denying permitting the dams.

"We have the permission, we have taken all the professional guidance and consultation of experts and engineers of the relevant bodies," he told the station.

He reiterated a statement by the farm manager Vinod Jayakumar who had also disputed the government's statement that the dam was illegal.

Speaking during a press briefing, Vinod Jayakumar, who oversees the 3000-acre farm in Solai, Nakuru County said the collapse of the dam was due to natural calamities and not because it was an illegal structure.

Kansagra Patel grows flowers on his farm for export under the brand name Solai Roses. He is the CEO of Solai Group of Companies which comprise the Patel Coffee Estate, where the killer dam was located.

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According to one of the local dailies, Kansagra Patel's other businesses include Thika's 65- hectare Enkasiri Flowers, Nairobi's Ceramics and a company known as Supplies and Services Ltd.

The family also owns Malindi-based Kensalt which was once a parastatal known as Salt Manufacturers Kenya Limited, by then a partnership between the government through Industrial Commercial Development Corporation (ICDC) and Saltec International — an Italian firm.

At the beginning Kensalt was given 6,000 acres of land in Gongoni and a permit to extract 80,000 tonnes of raw coarse salt from the sea water near Malindi.

Today, Kensalt is Africa's second largest producer of salt with an estimated annual output of 1 million tonnes. The company controls 75 percent of the salt market in Kenya and 50 per cent in Uganda.

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