Six years after Solai Dam burst killing 48 people and leaving a trail of destruction, the ODPP has sought to have the criminal case withdrawn.
Under a Certificate of Urgency, the ODPP said that the victims and those accused had reached an out-of-court settlement with families who lost adults getting Ksh 1.2m and minors Ksh 800,000 from the farm owner.
This emerged during the ongoing trial where Perry Manusukh who is a director at Solai Farm and eight others were charged with 48 counts of manslaughter on the 8th May 2018 and failing to prepare an environmental impact assessment report.
The other eight are Vinoj Jaya Kumar, Johnson Njuguna, Luka Kipyegen, Winnie Muthoni, Jacinta Were, Tomkin Odo Odhiambo, Williec Omondi and Lynette Cheruiyot.
Through State Counsel Alex Muteti, the ODPP sought to have the criminal case withdrawn though the court had already put the nine accused on their defense.
Muteti told Naivasha Chief Magistrate Nathan Lutta that the victims and the accused through their advocates had held several meetings where the issue of compensation had been arrived at.
While calling on the court to consider the application, he noted that the case had taken over six years, emotionally and financially draining all the 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.
Muteto told the court that under the agreement, the victims would be compensated through cash while withdrawing the criminal and civil case facing Manusukh.
“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 said.
Advocate Ferdinand Masinde told the court that they supported the application by the ODPP adding that all the affected victims had signed the agreement.
He added the farm owner had already opened an account and deposited the required compensation, cash escrow, to show his commitment to resolving the issue out of court.
Lawyer Hagai Chimei who is representing the victims supported the petition to withdraw the case adding that all parties had agreed to the out-of-court settlement.
The magistrate will give his ruling on the 23rd of November.