A Naivasha court yesterday commenced the retrial of the Solai Dam tragedy case by visiting the crime scene in Solai, Bahati sub-county.
The court sat at Milmet farm before viewing the dam, whose rupture caused the deaths of 48 people in 2018.
Dam owner Perry Mansukh and his farm manager Vinoj Kumar were charged alongside seven others with 48 counts of manslaughter.
During yesterday’s visit, two witnesses testified on the physical appearance of the dam, which was decommissioned in 2018, and what transpired before, during and after the tragedy.
Making the case earlier for a visit to the dam, prosecutor Alexander Muteti said the State wanted to prove that the nine suspects were responsible for the deaths.
Mr Mansukh and Mr Kumar, prosecutors argued, were directly responsible for building the dam and evidence shows that the tragedy resulted from negligence.
Mr Muteti said the other suspects - National Environmental Management Authority (Nema) and Water Resource Management Authority (Warma) officials - neglected their duty by allowing the dam to operate.
“At the scene is where the dams stood and a portion of it remains. We shall demonstrate through eyewitness accounts that construction works were carried out with the full knowledge of the public officials but they chose to see, hear or do nothing to stop such works,” he said.
Appearing before Senior Principal Magistrate Lucy Njora on Tuesday, the two witnesses, whose identities were concealed, said the dam had developed cracks and leakages two days before it burst.
One witness, who claimed to have worked as a supervisor on the farm for 15 years, said he visited the dam on May 7, 2018 and discovered that it was leaking.
“I went and reported the leakage to my boss, who visited the dam the following day alongside Mr Kumar. But on the night of May 9, 2018, after I had left work and gone home, I was informed that it had burst and caused a disaster,” said the worker.
The trial, which was thrown out last year, began afresh after DPP Noordin Haji successfully appealed against the decision to acquit the suspects.
The court was to visit the site again on Wednesday.