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Kenyan donates Sh48m to Bermuda charity after losing family in Ethiopian Airlines air crash

Kenyan donates Sh48M to a charity in Bermuda after he lost family in an air disaster

Paul Njoroge who lost five family members on the ill-fated Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 two years ago has donated Sh48 million ($446,000) to charity in Bermuda.

The Kenyan banker based in the Pacific island nation lost his wife Caroline Karanja, seven-year-old son Ryan Njoroge Njuguna, four-year-old daughter Kerry Paul Wanjiku Njuguna, seven-month-old daughter Rubi Wangui Njuguna, and his mother-in-law Ann Wangui Karanja in the March 10, 2019 crash of an Ethiopian Airlines’ Boeing 737 Max.

According to the Royal Gazette, Mr Njoroge teamed up with Jumuiya Ya Afrika, a charity set up to promote African culture and heritage in Bermuda, to organise the donations to anti-child abuse organisation Saving Children, Revealing Secrets and Family Centre.

“When I lost my family, there was an immediate outpouring of support to me, much from people I did not even know. Those messages of hope gave me strength. It is a sign of love and with that same spirit, in the name of my beloved departed family, I asked that this donation be made,” the publications quoted him.

Jumuiya ya Afrika (JYA) is a non-profit started by the African community in Bermuda.

Mr Njoroge said the donation was a gesture of love and appreciation for the overwhelming support he got after the accident as he marked the second anniversary of the incident.

Royal Gazette, reported that Boeing in January paid Sh274 billion ($2.5 billion) to settle a US Justice Department criminal investigation and admitted that employees misled regulators about the safety of the 737 Max.

Henry Thomas, the chairman of JYA, said Mr Njoroge asked the group for help to pick suitable recipients when he was given cash from the Boeing Community Investment Fund for good causes.

“We are happy to announce that both Scars and the Family Centre met the criteria set out by BCIF and each has confirmed receipt of funds. These funds are donated in the name of Paul’s late family and Jumuiya Ya Afrika is honoured to have facilitated this donation and heartened that our brother Paul amid his tragedy wanted to help better the lives of children in Bermuda,” said Mr Thomas, according to the publication.

The company and the US government said that the settlement included money for the crash victims’ families, airline customers and a fine.”

In December, Mr Njoroge agreed to a settlement of Sh327 million to drop a court case against American aircraft maker Boeing.

This was the first settlement in a case by Ribbeck Law Chartered which sued Boeing for Sh109 billion on behalf of some families who lost their loved ones in the Ethiopian Airlines 737 MAX 2019 crash.

The US law firm filed a dozen of suits against the aircraft maker in a US Federal Court in Chicago in the aftermath of two fatal crashes involving the same Boeing model plane.

“We sought and asked for the largest amount possible to be paid as compensation to the families we represent,” Mr von Ribbeck said.

None of the 157 passengers and crew onboard the plane survived the crash.

Among those who perished were 32 Kenyans, 18 Canadians, 9 Ethiopians, 8 Italians, 8 Chinese, 8 Americans, 7 Britons, French citizens, Egyptians, 5 Germans, 4 Indians and 4 others from Slovakia.

The aircraft type was grounded in the wake of the Ethiopian Airlines crash after it was found there were failures in the design of control mechanisms.

The 737 Max was cleared to fly again in November last year after modifications were made.

He was among individuals who provided testimony before the US House Subcommittee on Aviation in 2019, calling for improved oversight and aviation safety procedures.

The banker who used to work at Butterfield Wealth Management spent nine years living in Bermuda and has close ties to the nation where some of his children grew up.