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Blame game over demolition as agencies put on spot

By Moses Nyamori | Published Fri, August 10th 2018 at 00:00, Updated August 9th 2018 at 23:44 GMT +3

Water Resources Management Authority Nairobi Sub-Region John Munyao when he appeared before the National Assembly Environment Committee at Parliament on Thursday 09/08/18. [Boniface Okendo,Standard]

State agencies have contradicted themselves on the authorisation of construction of buildings on riparian land.

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Yesterday, Ukay Centre produced letters from the National Environment Management Authority (Nema) and the Water Resources Authority (WRA) approving construction near River Kibarage.

The proprietor of Ukay Centre, Bimal Shah, tabled the approval documents before the National Assembly’s Environment Committee.

He said he had heard rumours on social media that his Sh1 billion investment could be demolished.

Buildings near River Kibarage were reportedly earmarked for demolition, with the owners saying that tenants had started moving out for fear of losing their businesses.

“We have been maligned and 47 stalls have closed. This has seen 300 people lose their jobs,” said Mr Shah.

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Appearing before the committee, the agencies had denied approving Ukay’s construction after the streaming of the river through a box culvert.

The committee said the agencies should be held responsible for occasioning losses running into billions of shillings when buildings they had authorised were demolished.

Blame game

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The WRA said it had not authorised the demolitions of Java House in Kileleshwa and Southend Mall.

Nema officials had claimed that the demolitions were sanctioned under the Nairobi Regeneration Project.

The House committee demanded that those who had authorised the construction of the buildings be investigated and prosecuted.

“The Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) and the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP) should investigate and prosecute the officials found culpable,” said Kareke Mbiuki, the chairman of the committee.

Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji has ordered an investigation into public officials who gave approvals for the constructions.

Citing the ongoing demolition of buildings, Mr Haji said that, in consultation with Environment Cabinet Secretary Keriako Tobiko, he had directed the Director of Public Investigations (DCI) to open up a probe.

The investigation will seek to establish the circumstances, procedures and persons who irregularly and/or illegally issued the approvals for the construction of any buildings on riparian land.

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The DCI is required to submit a progress report and a duplicate police file for perusal and further directions every 21 days, the ODPP said in a statement. 


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