State to crack whip on officers who approved buildings on riparian land

Current and former officials of the Nairobi City County who authorised construction of buildings on riparian land are being investigated.

Environment CS Keriako Tobiko told Senators investigations by the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) on the officials who issued the approvals was ongoing, and that those found to have broken the law would be charged.

Mr Tobiko appeared before Senate Lands, Environment and Natural Resources Committee yesterday. He said Lands ministry officers who issued title deeds irregularly would also be charged.

“The DCI and the Director of Public Prosecutions are on the matter. Statements are being recorded,” Tobiko told the committee chaired by Nyandarua Senator Githiomi Mwangi.

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The CS had been invited to respond to a statement by Nairobi Senator Johnson Sakaja on circumstance under which Government decided to earmark 4,000 city buildings for demolition last year.

Through a letter to the committee, Mr Sakaja questioned why Government agencies allowed developers to construct buildings "only to later deny or even revoke the approvals, leading to losses amounting to millions of shillings in investments”.

But Tobiko told the Senators receiving the approvals and licenses illegally did not validate the process. He told the committee the decision to demolish structures was made by a multi-agency team - the Nairobi regeneration team.

Tourism CS Najib Balala and Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko are co-chairs of the team unveiled in April last year. The committee said it would invite Mr Balala and Mr Sonko to shed light on the criteria used to reach the decision to bring down buildings in the city and other parts of the country.

"As the representatives of the people, we will not rest until we get all answers to the questions asked by the electorate,” said Mr Githiomi.

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DCIGithiomi MwangiNyandarua SenatorKeriako TobikoNairobi City CountyNairobi County