, NAIROBI, Kenya Jul 17 – Environment Cabinet Secretary Keriako Tobiko has directed National Environment Management Authority to revoke an environment restoration order issued to Solai Dam owners after Senators investigating dam tragedy said it was unenforceable.
Tobiko said a revised order will be issued within seven days after Committee Chairman Mutula Kilonzo Junior (Makueni) led fellow senators Sylvia Kasanga (Nominated) and Ladema Ole Kina (Narok) faulted the order as being incomplete.
“If I was consulted before this restoration order was issued, i would have drafted differently because using the words ‘without prejudice’ leaves this order to serious risk of disputation, such should not be the case.”
“A Restoration Order that does not include a Compensation Order is incomplete and therefore this Restoration Order needs to be withdrawn and a proper restoration order issued so that there is no ambiguity,” Tobiko stated.
The Senators wants the Solai farm owners to be compelled to restore the environment which was massively degraded when the walls of the 20 million litres capacity dam collapses sweeping an entire village and leaving a trail of destruction that led to 48 deaths and hundreds being displaced.
“Don’t you think NEMA is a little lenient in issuing this Restoration Order, knowing the circumstances that brought about this tragedy?” Ole Kina posed.
“Who is supposed to restore Solai Market, Solai Market is destroyed completely, it is now rocks but this Order does not say so. Beyond Solai Market we have been informed that in fact this water went 25 kilometres downstream we also don’t see this in your Order.”
“If you are satisfied with this Order, Mr. CS, we can authorize you to direct this people to withdraw it and issue another one which is more specific,” Mutula Junior said.
Tobiko had earlier told the team that Solai Dam owner could face obstruction of justice charges if the claims that he or his agents have been forcing victims into signing indemnity contracts are validated.
Solai dam owner Perry Mansukh and two others are facing 48 counts of manslaughter. Mansukh, his farm manager Vinoj Jaya Kumar and director of water in Nakuru County Johnson Njuguna were jointly charged before Naivasha Principal Magistrate Joseph Karanja on July 5.
The Ad hoc team finalizes its public hearing phase on Wednesday with appearances from the Director of Public Prosecutions, the Patel Dam owners and Interior Cabinet Secretary
The Senators will then proceed to writing their reports which will be presented in the Senate next week for debate and subsequent adoption.