Judge Rawal to lead inquiry team to investigate Sunday plane crash
Written by Carolyn Wamalwa and Isura christopher
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From second right: Prime Minister Raila Odinga, President Mwai Kibaki, Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka and Head of Civil Service Francis Kimemia arrive at the KICC for the special cabinet meeting called by the president over the demise of Internal Security minister Prof. George Saitoti and his Deputy Jushua Orwa Ojode alongside two pilots and two security officers on Sunday morning. [Photo|Carolyn Wamalwa|West Fm]
COURT of Appeal Judge Kalpana Rawal has been appointed to lead an inquiry team to probe the Sunday morning helicopter crash.
Others appointed are Faith Irari, George McOwenga, Major General Harold Tangai and Charles Mutinda.
During the special cabinet conference held on Monday, Transport minister Amos Kimunya said his office had been in constant consultation with the Attorney General and Chief Justice’s office, as well as other key players in order to constitute a list of people who will lead a public inquiry to unravel the mystery surrounding the Sunday morning helicopter crash that killed Internal Security minister George Saitoti and his Deputy Joshua Orwa Ojode alongside their two aides and two pilots.
Kimunya added that the team will be mandated to look into the events surrounding the crash as well as direct on possible measures which need to be taken to avert such crises in future.
“The mystery is what happened between 8.38am and 8.42am, which we can only know by trying to reconstruct from all the technical details coming from different departments…given the nature and profile of these investigations, we are going to have a public inquiry into the causes and within this afternoon we will be gazzetting a team which will carry on the public inquiry so that all the people who have a stake in this will be given a platform; where we can get as much information, not necessarily to reverse what happened, not to know what happened, but more importantly to help the aviation industry in future to learn what needs to be done in the future to avert such happenings,” he said.
In a rejoinder, President Mwai Kibaki called for calm and assured that the public will be informed appropriately of all the findings from the investigations.
Kibaki described the departed as steadfast colleagues especially with regard to their efforts in promoting peace in the country.
Kimunya further urged the public to avoid speculations over the issue and wait to establish the truth from the ongoing investigations, as he ruled out previous media reports that the crash might have been as a result of bad weather.
He reprimanded the local media for lack of sensitivity and guided reporting especially in times of disaster, which he termed as irresponsible and only serves to fuel tension.
Pilots Nancy Gituanja and Luke Oyugi who were in charge of the plane, Kimunya explained were experienced pilots and had received special training in South Africa and endorsed to fly the air craft.
At the time of crash, the ill fated AS350 helicopter had clocked less than 100 hours in mileage.