Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko has halted construction of Nairobi’s tallest building and ordered the arrest of its contractors

Among the 15 arrested, ten were Chinese nationals.

  • The building located in Westlands and which is meant to house Avic International Africa headquarters was halted for what the governor termed as encroaching on public roads.
  • In addition to the arrests, the governor has also vowed to fire all county government staff who facilitated the alleged irregularities.

The building located in Westlands and which is meant to house Avic International Africa headquarters was halted for what the governor termed as encroaching on public roads.

“We wish to inform the general public especially people residing around Parklands, Westlands and Riverside that we have stopped the construction of the Avic International Building along Waiyaki way. We have also arrested all the contractors on site for defying the county planning laws,” said the Governor.

In a statement, Governor Sonko claimed the contractors have also violated planning laws.

Among the 15 arrested, ten were Chinese nationals.

The contractors were arraigned at City Hall magistrate court and charged with charged with constructing the building without approved plans, contrary to Section 30(2) of the Physical Planning Act.

They were, however, released on cash bails of $1000 each.

In addition to the arrests, the governor has also vowed to fire all county government staff who facilitated the alleged irregularities.

The halting follows several complaints’ by the public that the building disregarded construction several bylaws.

In 2015, the Consumer Federation of Kenya (Cofek) criticised the Nairobi City County government for hurriedly approving construction of the building.

Cofek secretary-general Stephen Mutoro noted that Avic International Real Estate Kenya Ltd received permits without any evidence that it had complied with all the security and environmental requirements.

He added that the speedy amalgamation of plots, including public roads by the Nairobi City County, raised fundamental questions and is an affront on the Bill of Rights.

In recent weeks, the city has been on a crackdown on illegal buildings that stand on road reserves and riparian land. Several demolitions have been done on buildings within the city including malls such as Nakumatt Ukay and Southend mall with others such as Taj Mall set to be demolished.

A few meters from the Avic construction site, another multi-million hotel located in Nairobi’s posh area of Gigiri, may be demolished for similar reasons even as the owner fights allegations that he attempted to bribe Governor Mike Sonko.

The Grand Manor Hotel is situated opposite the US Embassy on one side, and the United Nations head offices on the other side. On its left, is the High Commission of Botswana and on the right is the Embassy of Morocco stretching to its backyard.

Gigiri residents and several embassies have been pushing to have the hotel’s construction halted amid claims that it compromises the area’s security.

According to the Nairobi Regeneration team, more than 5,000 structures and approximately 4,000 buildings and facilities across the city will be demolished in the exercise.

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