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December 14, 2018

Uhuru: Officers who approved illegal land allocations be charged

President Uhuru Kenyatta and Royal Group of Companies director Yusuf Hassanali during the inauguration of Prism Towers in Upper Hill, Nairobi, yesterday  /pscu
President Uhuru Kenyatta and Royal Group of Companies director Yusuf Hassanali during the inauguration of Prism Towers in Upper Hill, Nairobi, yesterday /pscu
President Uhuru Kenyatta yesterday told state agencies to prosecute officials found culpable of allocating riparian and public utility land to private developers.
“We shall go after all those who issued the illegal permits, be they county or national government officials. All those who gave permits will be prosecuted,” he said.
Last evening, DPP Noordin Haji directed DCI Geoffrey Kinoti to immediately start investigations to establish the circumstances, procedures and persons who irregularly and/or illegally issued the approvals for the construction of any building or structure on riparian land.
“The progress report together with duplicate police files should be forwarded to my office for further direction after every 21 days,” said Haji.
 Among those targeted are Nairobi City County and Nema officials for their roles. Others likely to be affected are owners of structures, Ministry of Land officials, architects, contractors, lawyers and surveyors.
Uhuru said revocation of the titles and reclamation of the riparian and public land is part of the proactive efforts by his administration to decisively deal with runaway corruption.
“We must discourage corruption and encourage county governments to demolish properties on riparian land,” Uhuru said as he launched Prism Towers in Upper Hill, Nairobi.
The 34-storey building joins the league of the city’s tallest skyscrapers among them Times Towers ( 34 storeys), UAP Old Mutual Tower ( 33 ) and Britam Tower ( 32 ).  Uhuru said structures on Nairobi’s riparian land are responsible for flooding during the rain, leading to loss of lives and destruction of property.
The demolition of structures on riparian land started with a petrol station and Java restaurant in Kileleshwa on Monday and continued to the multi-million shilling Southend Mall at the junction of Lang’ata-Mbagathi roundabout.
Several others including Ukay Centre, whose proprietors rushed to court yesterday, are lined up for demolition.
Nairobi governor Mike Sonko said the county government will continue to crackdown on structures that violate building laws to “correct mistakes of the past”. He said nobody will be spared.
“It doesn’t matter how well-connected you are. If you have built on a road reserve or waterway, that structure has to go down, including my own parcel that I bought in Buruburu,” he said.
 Sonko said about an acre of his land is part of an access road and the county will start by demolishing the wall. “I will not allow impunity to thrive under my watch,” Sonko said.
“I better be a one-term governor and leave a legacy than entertain grabbing of public land.”
He asked Nairobi residents to remove their valuables from public utilities and listed over 15 properties that will be repossessed by the county.
“The law should not be applied selectively,” Sonko said.
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