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February 19, 2019

Sonko suspends official over riparian building approvals

Nairobi senator Mike Sonko
Nairobi senator Mike Sonko

A City Hall employee has been suspended for the approval of buildings on riparian land.

Governor Mike Sonko on Tuesday issued the suspension notice to John Ojwang and asked him to show cause why disciplinary action should not be taken against him.

Ojwang is an employee of City Hall's urban planning department. Sonko said his contract could be terminated

While City Hall says most approvals for building on riparian lands were done in the 1980s and 1990s, Ojwang was found responsible for the approval of the construction of Gem Suits in Riverside and Southend Mall on Lang'ata Road. The latter has since been demolished.

Ojwang was moved to the department in 2016 after then Governor Evans Kidero reorganised his government. His suspension follows a preliminary investigation ordered by Sonko.

Last week, Sonko said demolition of properties build on road reserves and riparian land will continue.

Java and Shell petrol station in Kileleshwa, Southend Mall and Ukay Mall and a section of Visa Oshwal Temple were demolished last week

A team of 80 police officers and 100 askaris from the inspectorate department have been attached to the demolition team.

President Uhuru Kenyatta last week directed that officials who approved buildings on riparian land be arrested and prosecuted.

“We are not going to just punish those who built. I want to assure you that we are going after all those who issued those permits, whether they are county officials, land officials or Nema officials," Uhuru said.

Uhuru said demolition of structures on riparian land will continue.

"We are doing everything to discourage corruption. It is possible to do clean business in Kenya and that is what we want to encourage," Uhuru said.

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