Owner of Embakasi gas plant detained for 21 days

Four suspects of the Embakasi gas explosion tragedy which left six people dead and over 300 others with serious injuries, will be detained by the court for a period of 21 days.

In giving the ruling, the presiding magistrate Dolphina Alego directed that Mr Derrick Kimathi, who is the owner of Maxxis Energy Nairobi Limited, Mr Joseph Makau and Ms Marian Mutete be detained at Embakasi police station for ease of investigations.

However, David Warunya On’gare will be detained at Capitol Hill police station for 14 days to enable him access medication whenever needed.

The magistrate concurred with state prosecutors Dorcas Rugut, Harbert Isonye, Sonnia Njoki, and James Gachoka that the matter is of immense public interest.

She said the court takes judicial cognizance that six lives were lost and over 300 people are nursing serious burn injuries.

She added that police need to be given ample time to finalise their Investigations.

The case was fixed for mention on February 28, 2024.

On Tuesday, the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) had sought to have the four detained for 21 days to enable a team of investigators to conclude with the investigations.

Prosecuting councils Ms Rugut and Mr Gachoka had disclosed that the four were being investigated for the offences of murder, conspiracy to commit a felony, negligence of duty, and abuse of office contrary to the law.

Mr Gachoka said the incident being investigated was a matter of great public interest and a national disaster.

He told the magistrate before the suspects were arrested on February 5, 2024, they had gone into hiding after the explosion which caused deaths and a left a trail of injuries.

“Police need time to record statements from relatives of the six deceased persons and the injured persons who are traumatised and undergoing treatment in various city health facilities,” said Mr Gachoka.

He said the respondents allegedly committed the offences within a span of four years between January 1, 2020, and February 2, 2024, at Maxxis Energy Nairobi Limited.

The prosecutor said the deaths occurred on the nights of February 1 and February 2, 2024, arising from a massive explosion which also caused damages running into tens of millions of shillings on vehicles and buildings.

The application to detain the four for 21 days was premised on an affidavit of the lead investigator, Chief Inspector Isaac Tenai, who told the court that the Investigations will cover a vast area which is now littered with debris.

“I urge this court to allow police to detain the suspects for 21 days since the bodies of the deceased were burned beyond recognition and post mortem has not been done,” pleaded Mr Tenai.

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