By Wahome Thuku
Devan Plaza is a new 10-storey ultramodern structure towering over Chiromo Road in Westlands, Nairobi.
The building put up by three brothers at a cost of Sh250million is the subject of a legal dispute at the High Court.
The three brothers, Nilesh Devan Shah, Ratilal Devan Shah and Hashwin Devan Shah decided to put up the complex of shops and offices a few years ago. They secured Sh90 million from I&M Bank for the project. Their initial plan was to build eight storeys including the basement and the ground floors.
In 2008, they carried out an environmental survey as required by law. Their immediate neighbours, Diasta Investments Ltd and others were invited to submit comments as required.
They then submitted the Environment Impact Assessment Project report to the National Environmental Management Authority ( NEMA) for approval.
NEMA issued them with a letter of approval on February 17, 2009, and an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) licence on April 28, 2009. They were to strictly adhere to the conditions on the report and the EIA licence.
The Devan brothers, however, put up a 10-floor building including the basement and the ground floor prompting Diasta Investments Ltd to seek legal redress, being the immediate neighbours.
In July, last year, Diasta Investments filed a suit seeking the Devan’s stopped from carrying out further construction.
Through lawyer Philip Nyachoti, the company claimed Devan brothers were carrying out the construction work at night, Sundays and public holidays contrary to NEMA conditions and posing great risk to their property worth hundreds of millions of shillings.
Diasta Investment director, Priten Patel, claimed in an affidavit that he had made complaints to NEMA, the City Council of Nairobi and even Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission but no action had been taken.