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Ethiopian Airlines plane crash compensation divides families

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The millions of shillings to be paid for every life lost in the Ethiopian Airlines plane crash in March have started driving wedges between families who lost their relatives as they seek compensation.

As the families of the 32 Kenyans who died in the crash buried the remains of loved ones, who arrived in coffins in Nairobi on Monday, disputes over burial are arising, pointing to the bitter divisions concerning the cash due for the deceased.

The Saturday Nations interviews with various lawyers revealed that families will receive at least Sh32 million for each victim, without factoring in any court awards that may come due to cases filed in the United States.

The Sh32 million per victim comes from an offer of about Sh14.9 million from aeroplane manufacturer Boeing, which families have until December 31 to apply for.

On top of that, each deceased person is entitled to about Sh17 million by virtue of an international treaty governing air crashes.

The arrangement is known in aviation circles as the Montreal Convention. “It is basically an agreement between countries that agree to manage this type of cases the same way,” says US-based injury lawyer Adam Ramji, who is representing a number of families from Kenya and Ethiopia.

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“For purposes of aviation accidents, air carriers are ‘strictly liable’ under the Montreal Convention. That is to say the companies are responsible for consequences even in the absence of fault or intent. The payment amount is roughly $170,000 (Sh17.6 million) per passenger,” he adds.

Besides the Sh32 million, most families have filed lawsuits against aeroplane manufacturer Boeing at the District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division.

This is likely to end in hefty awards as initial investigations point to Boeing’s failures, leading to the accident of the 737 Max 8 aeroplane.

Due to the substantive amounts due, divisions are emerging among families even at the initial stages.

One lawyer representing a number of Kenyan families, who requested anonymity so as not to breach confidentiality agreements, said there are vicious intra-family battles across Kenya.

“Monies involved are huge enough to trigger interests by members of these families,” the lawyer said.

The lawyer added that most of the conflicts have been caused by parents who are bent on receiving the compensation money at the expense of their sons- or daughters-in-law.

“Some of them have not even agreed where to bury their kin due to these differences,” the lawyer said.

In Nakuru County, for instance, a dispute arose as to who had the right to bury a woman who perished in the crash with her three children: Is it her father or her husband?

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The woman, Caroline Quinns, was in the company of her children Ryan, Kelie, and Ruby and her mother Ann Wangui in the ill-fated flight.

Caroline’s widower Paul Njoroge and her father John Karanja were initially tussling over who had the right to bury her.

It was finally agreed that Mr Njoroge bury Caroline and their three children at his farm in Kiringai, which happened on Friday; while Mr Karanja interred the remains of his wife Ann at his farm in Kabatini on Thursday. Both homes are in Bahati constituency.

At the burial on Friday, Mr Njoroge read a poem by E.E. Cummings titled, “I carry your heart with me”, which he dedicated to his wife and children.

The Saturday Nation has learnt that there are two cases regarding the late Caroline in a US court — one filed by her father and another by her husband.

“I have filed for my wife and daughter while (my son-in-law) has filed for his wife and children,” said Mr Karanja.

He added that they have filed the cases through different law firms, which he did not want to disclose.

“We had to file through separate law firms so that each one of us can argue their own case.” He confirmed having received Sh5 million for the interment, saying it was from Boeing.

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Families of those who died in the crash have less than two months to apply to administrators appointed by Boeing to release the Sh14.9 million for each life lost.

As applications go on, the court cases proceeding in Illinois have reached a critical stage.

In September, Boeing filed its preliminary response and reiterated its calls to have the families discuss the matter out of court.

“Boeing invites all plaintiffs to engage in direct settlement negotiations to resolve these matters,” it said through its lawyers.

“Because plaintiffs are entitled to recover compensatory damages only, Boeing respectfully submits that it is unnecessary to incur the lengthy delay and considerable expense associated with extensive discovery regarding liability issues,” Boeing argued through its lawyers.

Most Kenyan families have rejected Boeing’s out of court option, but their lawyers are encouraging them to take the Sh14.9 million-per-victim “Boeing Financial Assistance Fund” as the case progresses.

Only in court, argues Mr Ramji, can families show the worth of each of the people who perished and thus get compensation commensurate to the loss suffered. “After all the dust has settled, it is a mathematical calculation,” he said in a past interview.

by Nairobi News


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Lifestyle

World’s most-traveled man Fred Finn says Kenya is the safest place to visit during the pandemic

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Diani beach in Kwale County has played host to the world’s most traveled man, Fred Finn.

Finn has traveled to more than 150 countries at the age of 75 and holds the current Guinness Book World Records.

Finn, who is in the country until Monday, November 30 said Kenya is safe for holiday destinations.

He however noted that his visit at the moment is not for leisure, but to send a message that the country is safe amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

He says he has observed that Kenyans are following the protocols and guidelines than any other country he has traveled to during the pandemic.

“I did not come here on holiday, that is why my wife is not with me. I came because whenever Kenya has a little crisis I come and say Kenya is safe” he said

He said, during a pandemic, Kenya is the safest place to go on holiday.

Finn is scheduled to have his vaccine in December.

Tourism players say Finn’s visit to Kenya gives confidence to the international market that the country is an ideal destination.

“When you get an endorsement from the eyes of a traveler that is likely to carry the right persuasion to the potential travelers” said Kioko Musyoki, Leopard Beach General Manager.


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READ ALSO:   Reprieve for families in Ethiopian Airlines crash as renowned US lawyer takes up case 
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Entertainment

‘I regret…’ Anne Kiguta opens up about posting her daughter on social media

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TV news anchor Anne Kiguta has announced that she would like to share with her fans more about her life.

However, she draws a line on exposing her children to the limelight.

Anne has three children, one from her previous marriage and fraternal twins with Jomo Gecaga.

Responding to a fan who asked her about her babies, Anne posted a photo of her and her twins but blocked out the faces.

In her response she explained,

“Gosh, so many of you have said this… was the number one response. Well, I will have to let you down on that my loves.”

She added,

“I’m rather traditional (believe it or not) so I’m vehemently against it. My babies are are all still too young, including the eldest, to be on social media.”

Anne continued,

“In fact I really regret having posted my eldest at all. Mummy already has a pretty public life. They deserve their privacy.”

But not to break her fans hearts, Anne promised,

“A reference every once in a while but nothing more than that for a long long time.  Hope  you understand.”

In another post she still emphasized,

“That is my son. Quite the charmer. If only I could tell you half of what they say! But all these are are to me sacred moments…really can’t share much more.”

Not to be daunted though, Anne promised to talk about other aspects of her life.

READ ALSO:   Ethiopian Airlines launches nonstop flights to Houston, Texas

Here are the various topics she is open to talking about.

By Mpasho.co.ke


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Health

Shock as man ‘resurrects’ in a Kericho mortuary

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There was drama at Kapkatet sub-county hospital in Kericho on Tuesday night when a 32-year-old man who had been presumed dead and taken to the mortuary regained consciousness close to three hours later.

Mortuary attendants were getting ready to embalm Peter Kigen’s body when they noticed some movements.

Kigen, a resident of Kibwastuiyo village in Bureti Constituency, is said to have collapsed while at home before his family took him to hospital.

His younger brother, Kevin Kipkurui, said he was present when Kigen collapsed. With the help of their cousin, they took Kigen to the hospital at 5.30 pm.

“When we arrived at the casualty department, we met a doctor who asked us to register the details of the patient at the reception while he attended to him,” Kipkurui, who was still in shock, told The Standard.

After registering the patient, Kipkurui said he was again asked to the National Hospital Insurance Fund desk for further documentation of his brother.

Kigen reportedly suffers from a chronic illness.

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READ ALSO:   Ethiopian Airlines launches nonstop flights to Houston, Texas

“When I went back to the casualty department at around 7.45 pm, I learnt my brother was dead. A nurse told me that he died long before we arrived at the hospital,” Kipkurui said.

He added: “The nurse later handed me a document to take to the mortuary attendant before my brother’s body was moved to the morgue.”

However, at 10.30 pm, Kipkuriu said, as they were waiting for embalming of Kigen’s body, they were informed that in fact, he was not dead.

Mortuary attendants who mummified the body told them that Kigen had regained consciousness.

“The mortician called me into the morgue and we saw him make movements. We were shocked. We could not understand how they could move a person who is still alive into the mortuary,” Kipkurui said.

Kigen, who spoke from his hospital bed yesterday, said he was shocked to learn that he was thought to have died and even taken to the mortuary.

“I cannot believe what just happened. How did they establish that I was dead?” he said.

Kirui, who donned his light-blue hospital uniform, was nevertheless happy to be alive and vowed to dedicate his life to evangelism once he’s discharged from hospital.

“I did not even know where I was when I regained consciousness, but I thank God for sparing my life. I will serve him for the rest of my life,” he said.

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The hospital’s medical superintendent Gilbert Cheruiyot said Kigen was in critical condition when he was brought in.

Dr Cheruiyot said: “His relatives presumed he was dead and did not even wait for certification of death. They moved him to the mortuary, on their own.”

He said the clinical officers at the casualty were busy attending to other critically ill patients when Kigen was brought in, including an epileptic and a diabetic patient.

“They asked Kigen’s relatives to give them some time but they accused the clinicians of taking too much time and decided to take him to the mortuary. It was while the mortician was getting ready to embalm his body that she noticed some signs of life,” said Cheruiyot. He said the mortician informed the team at the casualty department which took Kigen back and begun resuscitating him. The process took three hours before the patient was stabilised.

“The patient was later taken to the ward and is responding well to treatment. We hope to discharge him in a few days,” Dr Cheruiyot said yesterday.

He added: “I advise those bringing their loved ones to the hospital to follow the laid down regulations. Before a body is moved the mortuary, it has to be certified by a clinician. In Kigen’s case, we can only say he was lucky, especially because of our qualified mortician who checked him before making any move,” said Cheruiyot.

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The bizarre incident saw local MCAs, led by the Majority Leader Hezron Kipngeno, storm the hospital. This is after Chelanget MCA Hezborn Tonui demanded a statement from the heath committee over the incident that shocked the county.


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