Noah Cheploen @cheploennoah
Detectives investigating the Solai dam tragedy have accused Water Resources Management Authority (Warma) officials of frustrating the probe.
In a preliminary report, the investigators claimed the agency officials had failed to provide crucial documents and information that could help unravel the Patel Dam disaster that claimed 44 people and displaced scores.
An officer privy to the investigation said Warma officials “refused to cooperate”. The report, he said, had been forwarded to Director of Public Prosecutions for action.
“Investigators faced a lot of hurdles but the report is now before the DPP who’ll decide way forward,” said the officer, who declined to be named as he is not authorised to speak media on the probe.
The tragedy struck on the night of May 10 when the dam burst it ways, sweeping away everything in its path. Of the 48 casualties, half were children. At least 2,000 villagers were rendered homeless.
Investigations revealed that the dam built in 90s had been re-engineered several times in past.
“Investigators wanted to know, among other things, if construction of the dam was approved by the National Environment Management Authority (Nema) and other relevant authorities,” our source said.
The ill-fated dam is among several in the vast Patel coffee farm owned by Solai Group of Companies.
Meanwhile, three schools that were closed after the tragedy have been reopened. A temporary camp erected at Solai Boys Secondary School has also been closed after affected families received compensation.