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February 21, 2019

Ukay Centre owners rush to court in bid to stop demolition

Ukay building that is said to be demolished in Westlands Nairobi on August 8,2018.
Ukay building that is said to be demolished in Westlands Nairobi on August 8,2018. Photo/HEPHZIBAR BUKASU.

The owners of Sh900 million Ukay Centre in Westlands have sought court orders to stop Nema from demolishing the property allegedly standing on riparian land.

In the case filed on Wednesday at a Milimani court, the owners want the court to issue conservatory orders barring the state from demolishing their building.

“The petitioner has a legitimate fear that the property known as Ukay Centre is in imminent danger of illegal demolition by the task force and it’s worth Sh900 million,” reads the petition.

This came a day after the environment authority demolished Sh1 billion Southend Mall on Langata Road for being on riparian land.

Those sued include Nairobi county, Nema, Water Resource Management Authority, NYS and the Attorney General.

Through their lawyer Greg Karungo, Ukay Centre owners said the Nairobi City Council approved the construction in 1994.



“The petitioner has a legitimate expectation that any buildings located on its property are properly and legally thereon and Nairobi City County having authorised construction, it should be stopped from claiming otherwise and any other subsequent laws which purport to change the definition of a riparian section after the construction offends our legitimate expectation that he would enjoy quiet possession of the property,” the court papers read.

Karungo said his clients received a letter dated July 6 which called for the demolition of part of their property.

The owners said the letter was beyond the mandate of the county because “only Nema has the authority to determine after following due process and procedure, whether any property falls on a riparian section”.

In an affidavit filed by Bismillah Shah, the MD, he said the county granted the company approvals for further construction and approved architectural plans on January 30.

He said the county further approved the building plans for the proposed construction on the May 17.

Shah said Nema and Warma, after inspecting the property, approved the recanalisation of River Kabagare and no formal allegation had been made by the two institutions as regards the structures on the property “which is a clear indication that the buildings themselves do no sit on a riparian reserve”.

The MD said the company had been summoned by the National Assembly Committee on Environment and Natural Reserves to appear before it yesterday for an inquiry into the alleged encroachment onto riparian reserves across the county.

About 4,000 buildings are said to have been earmarked for demolition in an operation to clear illegal structures from river banks in Nairobi county.

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