ODPP Files to Withdraw Solai Dam Case as Farm Owners Deposit Compensation

November 21, 2023

Six years following the tragic burst of Solai Dam that claimed the lives of 47 people and caused widespread devastation, the ODPP is seeking the withdrawal of the criminal case against farm owner Perry Mansukh.

Acting under a Certificate of Urgency, the ODPP stated that an out-of-court settlement had been reached between the victims and the accused parties. As part of the settlement, families who lost adults are to receive Sh 1.2 million, while minors will receive Sh 800,000 from the farm owner.

In the case, Perry Manusukh, a director at Solai Farm, and eight others faced charges of 48 counts of manslaughter filed on May 8, 2018. They were also accused of failing to prepare an environmental impact assessment report. The remaining eight individuals on trial were Vinoj Jaya Kumar, Johnson Njuguna, Luka Kipyegen, Winnie Muthoni, Jacinta Were, Tomkin Odo Odhiambo, Williec Omondi, and Lynette Cheruiyot.

During a session with Naivasha Chief Magistrate Nathan Lutta, State Counsel Alex Muteti, representing the ODPP, said the victims and the accused, along with their legal representatives, held multiple meetings, leading to a consensus on compensation.

Urging the court to consider the withdrawal application, he noted that the case had endured for over six years, causing emotional and financial strain on all parties involved.

“The victims in a letter to the ODPP requested that the matter be resolved out of court and after reviewing the case, we support alternative dispute resolution mechanisms,” he said.

“The victims and the owner of Solai farm have had a good working and living relationship and they want to maintain this even after the case,” he added.

Advocate Ferdinand Masinde informed the court that they endorsed the ODPP’s application, emphasizing that all affected victims had signed the agreement. Masinde also noted that the farm owner had established an account and deposited the necessary compensation in a cash escrow, demonstrating a commitment to resolving the matter extrajudicially.

Lawyer Hagai Chimei, representing the victims, also expressed support for the petition to withdraw the case.

The magistrate will deliver a ruling on November 23rd.

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