Construction of the Avic International Africa headquarters located in Westlands, Kenya has been halted. This is according Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko, who ordered for the arrest of its contractors accusing them of encroaching on public roads.
“We wish to inform the general public especially people residing around Parklands, Westlands and Riverside that we have stopped the construction of the Avic International Building along Waiyaki way. We have also arrested all the contractors on site for defying the county planning laws,” said the Governor.
Among the 15 arrested , ten are Chinese nationals. In a statement, Governor Sonko claimed the contractors have also violated planning laws.
The contractors were arraigned at City Hall magistrate court and charged with charged with constructing the building without approved plans, contrary to Section 30(2) of the Physical Planning Act. They were however released on cash bails of US $1000 each.
In addition to the arrests, the Governor has also vowed to fire all County government staff who facilitated the alleged irregularities. In 2015, the Consumer Federation of Kenya (Cofek) had criticized Nairobi City County government for hurriedly approving construction of the building.
Cofek secretary-general Stephen Mutoro noted that Avic International Real Estate Kenya Ltd received permits without any evidence that it had complied with all the security and environmental requirements.
He added that the speedy amalgamation of plots, including public roads by the Nairobi City County, raised fundamental questions and is an affront on the Bill of Rights.
Crackdown on illegal buildings
The city has been on a crackdown on illegal buildings that stand on road reserves and riparian land. Several demolitions have been done on buildings within the city including malls such as Nakumatt Ukay and Southend mall with others such as Taj mall set to be demolished.
According to the Nairobi Regeneration team, more than 5,000 structures and approximately 4,000 buildings and facilities across the city will be demolished in the exercise.