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December 12, 2018

Ukay demolition scare hits owner

Nakumatt Ukay in westlands./EZEKIEL AMING'A
Nakumatt Ukay in westlands./EZEKIEL AMING'A

An investor yesterday told a parliamentary committee that he came with his wife for the hearing in case he collapses if his building was condemned for demolition.

The proprietor of Nakumatt Ukay located in Westlands, Bimal Shah, said he could not take any more reports circulating in social and mainstream media that his Sh1 billion investment would be brought down in the latest crackdown on buildings built on riparian land.

“I brought her [his wife] so that if I collapse, she can take me home,” Shah told the Parliamentary Committee on Environment and Natural Resources.

“We have been maligned and 47 stalls have closed. This has led to the job loss of 300 people.” 

Investors with buildings said to be on riparian land had been asked to avail themselves before the committee and explain how they acquired the land.

National Land Commission chairman Muhammad Swazuri, Water Resource Management Authority CEO Mohamed Shurie, Kenya Forest Service acting chief conservator Monica Kalenda and National Environment Management Authority acting director for Compliance and enforcement Zephaniah Ouma attended the hearing. Officials from the Kenya Maritime Authority were present.

Shah told the Kareke Mbiuki-led committee at County Hall that the construction of the building started in 1994, after the defunct City Council approved it.

In 2010, however, they received revocation notice from City Council, claiming they had encroached on road reserve.A meeting in 2011 led to 10 metres of their land being given out for road expansion. There was no compensation, he said.

Shah said through his engineer, Isaac Wanjohi, he had to look for ways to deal with floods in 2016.

He said the main cause of flooding was the road.

Shah wondered why his parcel is claimed to be on riparian land yet the title deed says otherwise.

State agencies such as Nema, Warma and KFS were put on the spot for not coordinating.

Ouma was pressed to explain Nema’s lack of enforcement.

Directors from the Gigiri-based Tribe Hotel asked for more time to prepare their report.

During the hearing, the committee heard that a wall belonging to Gem Suites that had encroached on riparian land had been brought down.

Officials from Civicon Kenya Ltd, Makupa Transit Shade Ltd, Multiple ICD Kenya Ltd, Mombasa Cement appeared before the team.

They told the committee that they had all the requisite approvals. 

The controversy surrounding the grabbing of the Kibarani dumpsite also came up. 

Swazuri said the Ancient Inland Seas Ltd ( 0.4274 ha and 1.332 ha) and Halid Ahmed were beneficiaries of parcels ( 0.4991ha) and Mtech ( 2.6ha).

The NLC boss said all those with title deeds will appear before the commission from Monday 21 to provide ownership documents for scrutiny. “The commission requests the extension of our mandate on the compulsory acquisition of public land, which expired on May 2 last year,” Swazuri said. He said reclamation is not illegal. However, laws must be followed.

He said there has been massive grabbing in Mombasa targeting government land.

Kareke urged the DPP to step in and investigate officials from state agencies who might have issued approvals without following the procedure.

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