The principal of Bethlehem College believes there was an initial cover-up when the 18-year-old driving a minivan that crashed in Kenya, killing three New Zealanders, was told to keep quiet about a driver swap.
The college revealed yesterday that former student David Fellows, not a local man as the college had been initially told, had been driving the vehicle carrying 16 group members along the Nairobi-Murang'a highway when it rolled into a ditch nearly two weeks ago.
New Zealanders Brian and Grace Johnston and Caitlin Dickson, 19, and the college group's Kenyan driver, Christopher Mmata, were killed.
It is understood that Mr Fellows took responsibility for driving the minivan but Bethlehem College liaison representative in Kenya, Calvine Ominde, told him to keep quiet about the driver swap until after he had returned to New Zealand.
College principal Eoin Crosbie told Radio New Zealand today there appeared to have been an initial cover-up.
"I think you talk about a cover up and this appears to be an initial cover-up but there was never an intention, I believe, for a long-term cover-up because David was told to tell his family and to tell the school," he said.
"There was mayhem, there (were) people dying, Calvin had to do what he had to do to help and get people to hospital."
He agreed that it sounded like an attempt to pervert the course of Kenyan justice.
"Yes it does, and those people were told by a man that they trusted and respected in a foreign country what to do.
"I can only surmise that in a situation like this where there's a man like Calvin who they highly respect telling them what to do, then you do it."
The school has launched a private investigation following the latest revelation.
School board chairman Greg Hollister-Jones told Radio New Zealand the intention of the investigation was "so that the truth is told and learnt".
"We are a community that puts truth at the centre, and we need to know the truth. The second focus is what learnings the school can make because it wants to continue these overseas trips."
He expected the investigation to take several weeks.
Police here said they would forward new information to Kenyan authorities through Interpol.
Lawyer Gary Gotlieb said had it been made known to Kenyan authorities that the 18-year-old had been driving, he would possibly be in a Kenyan jail right now.
The teenager could still be charged, Mr Gotlieb said.