Patel farm staff messed with scene, court told

A resident of Solai in Nakuru County stands on the remains of what used to be his shop after a dam in Patel farm burst its banks killing 48 people and displacing tens of others.
The Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP) has accused the management of Patel farm of interfering with a crime scene.

According to State Counsel Catherine Mwaniki, officers investigating the collapse of Solai dam that claimed 48 lives had visited the farm on various occasions and found several sites had been tampered with.

“We have visited the scene of crime on several occasions and there is substantial evidence that it has been disturbed by workers from the farm,” Ms Mwaniki told the court yesterday.

The claims emerged even as the prosecution and defense lawyers engaged in a war of words over the case in which nine suspects, including farm owner Perry Mansukh (pictured), are facing 48 charges of manslaughter.

Mwaniki, who asked for more time to visit the farm and collect evidence, told Naivasha Principal Magistrate Joseph Karanja there were fears Patel could further interfere with the scene.

But Patel's lawyer, Boniface Masinde, asked for the court's protection, saying the prosecution's investigators were abusing their powers by antagonising and arbitrarily arresting farm workers.

The magistrate directed the defense lawyer to formally file an application and serve all the parties involved, with the case set for mention on August 30.

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