10 FLOORS, MOST ILLEGAL

Owner of Ill-fated Kisii house ignored orders, court told

The building collapsed in 2016 killing nine people who were working at the site.

In Summary

• Jeremiah Matoke, the owner of the building, is facing nine counts of manslaughter with prosecution lining up a string of witnesses against him.

• Kisii County civil engineer Rianga Obuya further said there was no inspection done on the three more floors.

The 10-storey building that collapsed while undergoing construction in Kisii town, November 10, 2016. /BENSON NYAGESIBA
The 10-storey building that collapsed while undergoing construction in Kisii town, November 10, 2016. /BENSON NYAGESIBA

The developer of the ten-story building in Kisii, which collapsed killing nine workers four years ago, had ignored orders to stop adding more floors to it, a court was told on Friday.

Kisii County civil engineer Rianga Obuya further said there was no inspection done on the three more floors.

 

The non-inspection, he said, may have given the developer room to engage in shoddy construction work leading to the collapse of the building.

The building collapsed in 2016 killing nine people who were working at the site.

Giving his testimony before Senior Court Magistrate Nathan Lutta, Obuya said during one of the last inspections of the seventh floor, he quickly wrote a letter asking the enforcement section at the county to stop the developer from going forward with work at the site.

Jeremiah Matoke, the owner of the building, is facing nine counts of manslaughter with prosecution lining up a string of witnesses against him.

"When the building collapsed there were several pieces of broken plastic tanks on the roof. We don’t have the proper equipment to do the testing that will give us the cause of the collapse. But they can still be done,” Eng Obuya told the court.

Obuya said the last inspection was done up to the seventh floor and the problems that led to the house's collapse may have cropped up in the subsequent floors.

Prescott Nyakango, another witness, said the developer only forwarded a four-story structure which they approved and not the ten-floor building which was still underway up.

The National Construction Authority official also said they had warned against further work on the site saying there were "some inherent structural weaknesses that had begun to appear as more floors were added to the plan."

"Even with a certificate of approval, continuous project assessments are crucial, which the developer blatantly glossed over," said the official.

In defence, Matoke said the witnesses did not provide the court with credible evidence showing the reason for the building's collapse.

The defendant was the ODM party candidate in the last Bomachoge Chache parliamentary polls.

The case has been dragging in court since November 2016 with more than 10 prosecution witnesses lined up by the prosecution.

Hearing of the case will proceed in October 25, 2019.