Omamo due before committee probing Solai tragedy

June 28, 2018 10:29 am
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On Wednesday, the committee kicked out officials from the National Construction Authority, Water Resources Management Authority and the National Environment Management Authority after they failed to give details of measures taken to prevent a repeat tragedy/FILE

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 28 – The ad-hoc Senate Committee probing the Solai Dam disaster will on Thursday meet with Defence Cabinet Secretary Raychelle Omamo over the incident that left 47 people dead.

On Wednesday, the committee kicked out officials from the National Construction Authority, Water Resources Management Authority and the National Environment Management Authority after they failed to give details of measures taken to prevent a repeat tragedy.

The regulatory agencies drew the wrath of Senators Mutula Kilonzo Jnr and Johnson Sakaja after they said they were planning to conduct a forensic audit and comprehensive environmental impact assessment, two months after the dam collapsed resulting in the deaths and displacing hundreds more.

The Senators were incensed by the admission of the three agencies that the dam did not have an environmental impact assessment test because there was no enabling law when it was constructed in 1980.

The committee further learnt the NEMA had not acted on residents’ complaints on the safety of the dam which was built on a hill.

Kilonzo Jnr adjourned the proceedings after the NEMA team admitted that they had not taken action on the dam owners after it emerged that they were yet to comply with an improvement notice that required them to do a fresh assessment and submit a report by June 7.

NCA acting Chief Executive Officer Maurice Aketch told the ad-hoc team that the audit will unearth what caused the collapse.

Attempts by the NEMA team led by Enforcement and Compliance Director David Ongare to redeem themselves by stating that they will be sending a high-powered enforcement and compliance team from Nairobi to go and crack the whip was quickly dismissed by the Senators.

A preliminary report said the tragedy could have been averted had the owners reinforced an embankment where cracks emerged.

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