Govt disburses Sh54mn awarded to 63 families in Kyanguli fire tragedy suit

July 18, 2019 12:40 pm

Regina Ndung’e is pictured in a 2014 interview with Capital FM News. She is among parents who lost their children in the March 24, 2001, arson at Kyanguli Mixed Secondary School that left 67 students dead/ FILE – CFM

, MACHAKOS, Kenya, Jul 18 – The government has disbursed a Sh54 million award given to 63 families who sued for damages over the deaths of their children in a fire tragedy at Kyanguli Mixed Secondary School in Machakos, later renamed Kyanguli Memorial Secondary School, eighteen years ago.

Abbas Esmael, an advocate with a law firm that had sued on behalf of the families on Wednesday confirmed the National Treasury had released the funds.

Justice Joseph Sergon had in 2016 ordered the government to compensate the families Sh40.9 million but the funds were delayed rising to Sh54 million as a result of interest accrued.

The 63 families will now each Sh857,000, up from Sh650,000.

A total of 67 students lost their lives in the tragic incident but only 63 sued the school for negligence.

In his 2016 judgment, Justice Sergon found the school administration culpable for the tragedy that occurred on the night of March 24, 2001, having failed to act to avert a planned arson.

He faulted then School Principal Mutison Kiilu and his deputy Stephen Kasyoka of failing to act despite having had knowledge of the impending arson.

Hillary Kitaka, a representative of the 63 families awarded damages said the funds will be disbursed to accounts of respective families within fourteen days.

The 63 families moved to court in 2002.

Also sued was the school’s board of governors, the Teachers Service Commission and the Attorney General.

Charred remains of the victims were buried in mass graves.

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