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Trouble for officers in killer Patel Dam pay

By Rawlings Otieno | Published Thu, July 12th 2018 at 00:00, Updated July 11th 2018 at 22:35 GMT +3
Makueni Senator Mutula Kilonzo Jnr. The committee he chairs says State officer and others could interfere with investigations. [File, Standard]

The Government has been asked to suspend the Nakuru County commissioner over the payouts to those affected by the Solai dam tragedy.

A Senate committee probing the matter asked Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i to act on the official, Joshua Nkanatha, for facilitating the payout.

The committee chaired by Makueni Senator Mutula Kilonzo Jnr said Mr Nkanatha and all national government officials in Solai should be suspended to allow successful investigations into the tragedy.

The other officers recommended for suspension are the deputy county commissioner in Subukia, the assistant county commissioner in Solai, and the area chief. The committee said their continued stay in office would interfere with the investigations.

“Nkanatha is holding brief for the owner of Patel Dam. He has collected money from the owner of the dam. He has formed a parallel committee which is facilitating the compensation payout and forcing the victims to sign indemnity forms in favour of Mr Patel,” Mr Kilonzo Jnr said.

The Government has denied any knowledge of the attempt to compensate the survivors of the May 9 Patel Dam tragedy. Those affected are said to be made to sign an indemnity form taking away liability for the accident from the owner of the dam.

The Solai community and the victims told the committee the payment of the alleged compensation was being facilitated by officers of the national government in Solai led by the county commissioner.

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According to the committee, the victims were paid Sh1 million for a life lost, Sh200,000 for loss of a semi-permanent structure and Sh1 million for a permanent structure lost.

Not liable

The indemnity states that the dam owners are not liable for the incident despite them their compensation offer. The discharge forms would protect the dam owner from any further claims.

Interior Chief Administrative Secretary Patrick ole Ntutu said the ministry was not aware of the process being led by Nkanatha and neither had it issued instructions to any of its officers in Nakuru to undertake the process.

“I am hearing this from you. I will personally take charge and investigate the veracity of the claims and if we establish it is true we shall surely take action,” Mr Ntutu told the committee


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