Kenyan water authorities say the dam that burst last week, killing over 40 people, was illegal.

The BBC on Friday reported that the Patel dam was one of many on a sprawling farm near Solai approximately 190km from the capital Nairobi.

Elizabeth Luvonga spokeswoman from the Water Resources Management Authority (Warma) told the Reuters news agency the farm’s dams lack the necessary permissions.

“None of them have permits. That is why they are illegal,” she said.

But the general manager of the farm, Vinoj Kumar, denied the accusation.

“All these dams were built about 15 to 20 years before. There’s no [nothing] illegal,” he said.

The dam, which burst on Wednesday last week, sent 70 million litres of water rushing towards the homes below destroying everything in its path. According to Kenya’s Daily Nation newspaper, the wall of water was about 1.5m high and 500m wide.