NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 18 – Four foreign aviation experts will assist the Rawal inquiry into the helicopter crash that killed Internal Security Minister George Saitoti, his assistant Orwa Ojode and four police officers last week.
Two of them are South African specialists led by Chris Briers who will be representing some families of the deceased, according to Prime Minister Raila Odinga.
“One French aviation expert will also represent the manufacturer while the fourth will represent the French government,” the premier said.
The probe team will be chaired by Appellate Judge Kalpana Rawal and has representation from the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA), the Attorney General’s office and Directorate of Public Prosecutions office.
Assessors sitting in the team include Major Gen (rtd) Harold Tangai, Maj (rtd) Charles Muyehe Wandiri, Captain Peter Maranga and Aggrey Opot.
Assisting counsels are Charles Mutinda (AG’s office) Faith Irari (AG’s office) and James Mungai Warui of the DPP’s office. Clatus Macowenga, Chief Inspector of Aircraft Accidents will serve in the technical team.
“The team will be gazetted tomorrow (Tuesday) before it is sworn in on Wednesday,” Odinga said, adding “the team will not have a timeline to accomplish its work.”
He did not reveal the families that have hired the foreign experts, but sources told Capital FM News they had been retained by the late Saitoti’s and Ojode’s families.
Attorney General Professor Githu Muigai who was at the press conference said families of the two pilots – Nancy Gituanja and Luke Oyugi as well as bodyguards Joshua Tonkei and Thomas Murimi who perished in the crash have also indicated they intend to have legal representation in the probe team.
“This is a public inquiry and it will be very open. We urge anyone with any information or documentation of any nature to present it to this team,” Muigai said.
Odinga said all communication from the team shall be given out by Transport Minister Amos Kimunya who was appointed “government spokesman on this matter.”
“The government also wishes to assure all Kenyans that it shall immediately make public the report of the inquiry and shall act on all recommendations made,” Odinga said.
Terms of reference for the probe team include investigating the procedures surrounding the procurement and purchase of the helicopter AS350 B3e.
It shall also seek to establish how the helicopter was serviced since the time it was purchased, usage and storage prior to the June 10 accident that occurred in Kibiku area of Ngong hills, just outside the capital Nairobi.
The minister and his assistant were headed to Ndhiwa for a church service and peace meeting the following day in Borabu.
“They will also look into the circumstances surrounding the flight control of the helicopter by Wilson control tower on the fateful morning,” the premier said.
The team shall look into any other matters relating or consequential to the accident of the helicopter and make appropriate recommendations.
The late Saitoti and his assistant Ojode were buried at the weekend while the two pilots and two bodyguards will be buried between Tuesday and Thursday.