Court lifts suspension of engineers blamed for Sigiri Bridge collapse

Resident cross River Nzoia using a boat on June 27, 2017 after Sigiri Bridge in Budalangi Collapsed. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Two engineers whose licences were suspended by the Engineers Board of Kenya (EBK) after the collapse of Sigiri Bridge in Western Kenya two years ago have been granted a temporary reprieve after the suspension was lifted pending determination of their appeal.

Court of Appeal judges William Ouko, Fatuma Sichale, and Otieno-Odek ruled that Godfrey Ajuong Okumu, and Oliver Collins Wanyama had an arguable appeal which may be prejudiced if the order of stay is not granted.

Their main ground of appeal is whether they were to blame for the collapse of the bridge, and further that they will be denied livelihood in their practice as engineers if the two year-suspension is not lifted pending the determination of the intended appeal.

“With respect, we agree that the two will be exposed to incalculable suffering between now and the time when the intended appeal is likely to be set down for hearing. They are likely to serve the two year-suspension or a substantial part of the suspension,” ruled the judges.

The court heard that, just two weeks after it was inspected and launched by President Uhuru Kenyatta, Sigiri Bridge straddling River Nzoia’s banks and linking Bunyala South and North collapsed on 26 June, 2017, injuring a number of masons who were working on it at the time.

However, to establish the cause of this accident, the EBK constituted a committee whose report dated August, 2017 indicated that the accident occurred primarily because; “of the wrong sequencing of the concreting of the bridge deck resulting in unbalanced forces that caused instability and failure of sections of the bridge.

Further, that, “The wrong sequencing was as a result of failure to follow standard design requirements and adhere to standard construction procedures.”

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