, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 20 – A team formed to investigate the cause of the June 10 police helicopter crash that killed a Minister, his assistant and four police officers has formally commenced its work after its members were sworn in by Chief Justice Willy Mutunga.
The team headed by Court of Appeal Judge Kalpana Rawal visited the crash site in Kibiku area of Ngong hills on Wednesday afternoon to analyse the site and collect evidence.
The team comprising of local investigators and French and South African aviation experts is mandated to probe the cause of the helicopter crash that killed the late Internal Security Minister George Saitoti, his Assistant Orwa Ojode and four police officers.
The police officers include pilots Nancy Gituanja and Luke Oyugi as well as bodyguards Joshua Tonkei and Thomas Murimi.
The swearing in ceremony was officiated by the Chief Justice in the presence of Transport Minister Amos Kimunya and other senior government officials.
South African Chris Biers and another South African aviation expert are representing interests of some of the family members of the deceased government officials who perished in the crash.
Two French experts are also in the team, representing the helicopter’s manufacturer Eurocopter and the French government respectively.
Prime Minister Raila Odinga who unveiled the probe team on Monday announced that the team will not have a specific period within which to complete the task because there is a lot to be done.
The probe team draws its membership 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 counsel 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.
Attorney General Professor Githu Muigai has urged members of the public with any piece of information on the cause of the crash or any other related information to volunteer and cooperate with the investigators.
“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.
Any form of communication on the progress of the investigation will be announced by Transport Minister 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.