July 5, 2018 / 2:59 PM / a month ago

Three charged with manslaughter over bursting of Kenya dam that killed 47

NAIROBI (Reuters) - Kenya charged three men with manslaughter and other offences on Thursday for their role in the collapse of a dam at a flower farm in May that killed at least 47 people.

The three men - the farm’s managing director, Perry Kansagara, its general manager, Vinoj Kumar, and a local state water official, Johnson Njuguna - were charged at a magistrate’s court in the Rift Valley town of Naivasha, court documents seen by Reuters showed.

All pleaded not guilty to the charges, which as well as manslaughter included neglect of duty and failure to prepare environmental impact assessment reports for the dam, according to a tweet by the Kenyan public prosecutor’s office.

On Wednesday Kenya’s top public prosecutor Noordin Haji had ordered nine businessmen and government officials be charged with manslaughter for their role in the disaster.

The three men are the first of those nine to be arraigned in court over the disaster.

“Prosecution has asked court to issue warrant of arrest to 6 others,” the public prosecutor said in the tweet.

The dam on the 3,500-acre farm in the Rift Valley burst after weeks of heavy rain, sending cascades of water down a hillside where it smashed into two villages.

Haji said unqualified staff had built the dam using farm equipment, relying on flawed designs and without the necessary environmental impact assessment.

It was not immediately clear whether the three men had been released on bail or would be detained.

Reporting by Humphrey Malalo; Writing by Elias Biryabarema; Editing by Gareth Jones

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