Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Anxiety as release of Saitoti report delayed

File | PPS President Kibaki receives the report on the helicopter crash from Lady Justice Kalpana Rawal at his Harambee House office in Nairobi on February 28.
File | PPS President Kibaki receives the report on the helicopter crash from Lady Justice Kalpana Rawal at his Harambee House office in Nairobi on February 28.  
By VINCENT AGOYA vagoya@ke.nationmedia.com
Posted  Monday, April 1  2013 at  21:00

A seeming reluctance by the Office of the President to make public the Saitoti helicopter crash report is creating anxiety in the aviation sector.
Two months after the report was handed over to President Kibaki, the Transport ministry, lawyers, other interested parties and the public have not had the opportunity to know its contents.
A source at the Transport ministry said the report should have been made public 14 days after its release, adding that the delay was breeding speculation and casting doubts over its credibility.
The source said they expected to form implementation committees as per the recommendations and even learn from its findings.
Naturally, the source said, copies of the report would now be available to the public through the Government Printer or posted on the Ministry’s website.
Initially, a presentation of the report was met with a court injunction after Prof George Saitoti’s widow, Margaret, objected on the grounds that it had not included findings on the four components reportedly sent abroad for forensic analysis.
However, on February 28, after handing over the report to the President, Lady Justice Kaplana Rawal, who led the commission investigating the crash, said the family had withdrawn its objection and furthermore, “the components had been found to have no bearing to the accident”.
The commission that investigated the case blamed the French firm, Eurocopter, for the accident.
Justice Rawal said the company had installed a test version of a device without the knowledge or approval of the Kenya Police when it bought the aircraft.
She said the prototype vehicle engine monitoring display was installed on December 4, 2011, after the helicopter’s operational certificate had been issued.
“Eurocopter committed a glaring irregularity,” the judge said.
Flawed tendering
The commission, which listened to 66 witnesses, also observed that the helicopter was not being maintained by its manufacturers and was purchased through flawed tendering.
Justice Rawal also urged the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA) to take up the matter regarding the prototype, arguing that it should be investigated further.
“KCAA should send a protest note to the European Aviation Safety Agency on the basis that Eurocopter knowingly allowed for use of a prototype on an operational aircraft,” she said.
The commission also called for an overhaul of KCAA, saying it required a total transformation to ensure that it achieved its mandate.
On the probable cause of the crash, the investigators said it was “loss of aircraft control in poor visibility”, and reaffirmed that they were unable to determine the exact cause of death of the six Kenyans owing to poor post-mortem procedures.
The team called for urgent establishment of a national forensic teaching and research facility.
“An opportunity was lost to the commission to determine whether cause of death was due to carbon monoxide poisoning, traumatic injuries, fire injuries or a combination of any of these,” said Justice Rawal.
The Kenya Police Air Wing, owners of the helicopter that crashed, was also faulted for its shortcomings in training, safety management and continued air worthiness checks.
President Kibaki wanted another committee formed to implement the findings of the Rawal team.

No comments:

Post a Comment