Solai Dam owner asks DPP for out-of-court deal

Solai dam owner Perry Mansukh Kanasagara and his farm manager Vinoj Jaya Kumar at a past court hearing in Naivasha. The duo has been charged with manslaughter. [File, Standard]

Business tycoon Perry Mansukh Kanasagara is now seeking an out-of-court settlement in the Solai Dam incident where 48 people died.

Mansukh and his farm manager Vinoj Jaya Kumar, through their lawyer Boniface Masinde, have written to the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) to request that the State drop its case against him.

Mansukh, Vinoj and seven other suspects are charged with 48 counts of manslaughter. They also face another charge of failing to prepare an environmental impact assessment report.

According to State Counsel Catherine Mwaniki, the DPP’s office had received a letter asking for a meeting on the matter that is pending at the Naivasha Law Courts.

The request came as the court set aside four days when the case will be heard, with two protected witnesses set to testify.

Ms Mwaniki told Naivasha Chief Magistrate Kennedy Bidali that they were ready to listen to the accused before making a decision.

“This is like a plea bargain where the accused plead guilty but are given a lesser sentence depending on the charges facing them,” she said.

Mr Masinde told the court that both parties would brief the court during the next hearing.

The parties are set to meet on August 2 to address issues raised by the two accused and seek the way forward.

The other seven accused are Johnson Njuguna, Luka Kipyegen, Winnie Muthoni, Jacinta Were, Tomkin Odo Odhiambo, Williec Omondi and Lynette Cheruiyot.

During the hearing of the case, the magistrate granted an application from the accused lawyers seeking that they report to the offices of the DCI once every month.

“The accused will be reporting to the DCI office every first Friday of the month and not twice as was the case before,” Mr Bidali said.

Bidali further ordered that Mansukh and Njuguna, who is the county water director, be handed back their passports to travel out of the country.

The court heard that Mansukh has a legal matter to attend to in India and is expected to deposit his passport by August 30.

Njuguna intends to accompany his wife to the same country for treatment.

Mr Bidali set hearing of the matter from September 2 to 6.

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