Ukay centre owners have demanded the government of Kenya US $23m compensation over demolition of the mall.
According to Kental Enterprise, the company behind the mall, the building plans were approved by the then Nairobi City Council in 1994 and the demolition constitutes compulsory acquisition of their piece of land, which necessitates compensation.
The company accuses the government of malicious destruction of property whereas the latter insists that the mall was demolished for sitting on riparian land. Owners of the mall want the court to institute an inquiry for lost business and investment opportunities following the demolition and the government be forced to pay the damages.
The 25-year-old Ukay Centre, which was a two-acre area was demolished in August 2018. The mall sat on three plots of land valued at an US $18m for the first plot of land while the second and third land valued US $2m each.
The Attorney General, the Nairobi City County, National Environment and Management Authority, the Water Resources Management Authority and the National Youth Service that undertook the demolition exercise under the Nairobi Regeneration Initiative have been listed as respondents.
In a suit that lawyer Allen Gichuhi has filed, the company has sought an order declaring that the government violated the law when it demolished the property because it was done without due process and went against the right to own property.
“There is no river under this property, the nation has been cheated. There’s only a stream at the back of this building. No government authority has ever issued us with a notice of demolition despite us moving to court,” said the property manager.