The Office of the Director of Public Prosecution has called for immediate investigations after the tragic accident in Mombasa, where a bus belonging to St Augustine Preparatory School crushed a pupil to death.
Assistant Director of Public Prosecution Alexander Muteti assigned two detectives from his office to probe the matter.
The two will be working together with senior officers from the Mombasa County Criminal Investigations Unit as per the instructions from Mr. Muteti.
The ODPP sharply condemned the accident noting: “This is not a matter that should be approached purely from a traffic accident angle and therefore the need to have a seasoned detective to deal with the same”.
In a letter from the ODPP, Mr. Muteti ordered that the school bus should be impounded, inspected and photographed including the inner part where the opening on the floor is said to be.
“The safety of school going children is a matter of great public interest and calls for immediate and thorough investigations into the matter to unearth the circumstances leading to the unfortunate incident,” the letter read in part.
On the other hand, the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) stated that the administration of the school should be charged as preliminary investigations revealed that they knew that the bus was in a deplorable condition.
“This points to the fact that the school knowingly concealed this defect in the vehicle.St Augustine’s Preparatory School Administration shall be charged for knowing that parts of the vehicle were not maintained hence endangered lives of persons traveling with it contrary to the law,” NTSA mentioned.
Hours after the 6 AM accident, President Uhuru Kenyatta, signed into law a Bill that will promote road safety near schools and also promote child safety in school buses.
The Traffic Amendment Act 2017 stipulates a person or institution shall not designate or use a vehicle for transporting children to and from school or non-school related activity unless it meets the prescribed standards.
According to the regulation in the amended Act school buses are expected to be fitted with safety belts designed to suit children and the standards would ensure unroadworthy vehicles are not used for school transport.
Also, Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho assured the family of the deceased boy that the County Government was working to ensure that action is taken against those responsible.
“As the County Government we will take swift and stern measures to ensure the safety of our children in schools. May the Almighty rest the young angel’s soul in eternal peace,”Joho said.