Fort Ternan Accident Probe: DPP Goes after more suspects

The scene the bus veered off the road at Fort Ternan Tunnel in Kericho on October 10, 2018. / SONU TANU

DPP Noordin Haji has asked Inspector General of Police Joseph Boinnet to investigate the insurance company that covered the bus that killed 58 people in a fatal accident at Fort Ternan a month ago.

The October 10 accident also left 15 other people critically injured.

The DPP also wants Boinnet to direct police investigators to establish whether the body builder observed set specifications.

“Once the investigations are complete, do forward the file to us immediately for appropriate directions,” Haji said in a statement on Thursday. The bus owner Bernard Ishindu Shitiabayi and the Sacco administrator Cleophas Shimanyula (alias Toto) were arrested and charged over the accident.

Toto, is a well-known operative in Kakamega. His story is a typical case of rising from grass to grace. Raised from a humble background by a father, who was a mechanic and a taxi operator, in Kakamega town, Shimanyula started off with the easiest job he could find — a tout and car cleaner in the early 1990s.

His father, from whom he takes the name Shimanyula, reportedly assisted him to buy an old saloon car, which he used as a taxi for more than a decade.

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From there, he ventured into the matatu business with one vehicle he said he bought using a bank loan. Details of Shimanyula’s education remain scanty.

In previous interviews, he said he did not complete his basic education. He does not shy away from admitting he could never have excelled in the academic world.

NTSA confirmed that the bus, KBX 029 J, was not registered with the authority. NTSA Director General Francis Meja also said the bus was not licenced to operate at night although it had a valid insurance.

Shitiabayi faced three charges: allowing the bus to operate without a speed governor, operating the bus at night without a night travel license and failing to register the names of the driver and conductor of the bus.

Kakamega's Homeboyz football club main sponsor Cleophas Shimanyula. PHOTO/SAMUEL SIMITI

Shimanyula faced the last two charges. The duo was charged on October 22 at the Narok Court where they pleaded not guilty to the charges.

They were both released on a bond of Sh5 million with a surety of a similar amount or cash bail of Sh1 million in the alternative. The hearing of the case is scheduled for November 28.

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