The number of cases and incidences where buildings have collapsed causing deaths and injuries to hundreds of people, and also where ‘developments’ have destroyed and damaged the environment therefore denying, violating and infringing on citizens’ right and fundamental freedom to a clean and healthy environment, have been on an upward trend especially in urban centers.
In a Constitutional Petition filed by Taza Lane Residents off City Park Drive, Parklands, Nairobi, the residents have filed an application seeking Court’s leave to have Senior Officers and Employees of NEMA and NCA enjoined in the Petition where the residents have sued developers, owners of properties and suppliers of building materials along Taza Lane for “denying, violating, infringing and continuing to threaten to deny, infringe and violate the Residents’ and members of the public’s rights and fundamental freedoms to life and to a clean and healthy environment by constructing multi-residential apartments in an area where there is no existing NCW&SC sewer line” and where “Construction of a Privately Developed Sewer Line is next to impossible”.
Petitioners in the suit have, on behalf of their Co-residents annexed watertight evidence to prove that Senior Officers and Employees of NMS (and now Nairobi City County Government), NEMA and NCA have been, and continue aiding, abetting and helping the developers, owners, contractors and suppliers of building material on the site by among other acts and omissions, “deliberately and knowingly failing and refusing to discharge their statutory mandates to prevent, stop and control acts and omissions deleterious to the environment”.
The Petitioners have in the application referred to tens of incidences where the Senior Officers and employees have issued permits and licences “that are based on false information and facts” and have “ignored their own reports following monitoring and assessment on the construction site” but keep looking the other way.
The Petitioners have named the County Government employees and NEMA Officers who issued a license to a “company whose shareholders and directors are very different to those named in the Certificate of Incorporation” allowing him develop 77 three and four bedroomed houses despite (NEMA’s) knowledge that the proposed land was not connected to a public sewer and was exclusively for single residential units.
According to the Petitioners, “NEMA and its officers have made several visits to the construction site and confirmed non-existence of a public sewer line but have decided to take no action against the developer, thus assisting the developer to continue denying and violating our and the general public’s right and fundamental freedom to a clean and healthy environment”.
On the part of NCA, the Petitioners have alleged that NCA issued a construction permit to a proponent when they knew that the documents presented by the proponent were fake and were forged.
“NCA was made aware that the demolition permit dated 10th September 2020 allegedly allowing demolition of the houses prior to excavation works was not genuine because it was not issued by NMS and that even the officer whose signature appears on the letter has denied any knowledge of the letter”.
The Petitioners are also accusing NCA and its officers of suspending works on the site property for more than six times, and even declaring the site as ‘notorious’ but have taken no action against the developer.
“We were very shocked to learn that Koch Construction Company Ltd whose name has appeared on the site signboard from January 2021 stopped his involvement in the project three years ago and even de-registered the project with NCA but his name was only removed from the signboard on 17th March 2023”.
The applicants in the petition have also annexed an affidavits filed in a different case where the alleged owner of the property under construction i.e. Sustainable Development Solutions Limited has accused NMS, NEMA and NCA officers and employees of “making numerous visits at the site to solicit for bribes and kickbacks”. These claims and allegations have not been denied or disputed by the three institutions or their officers and employees.
Among the Senior Officers and Employees the residents want be enjoined in the Petition are the former NMS Director Lt General Mohamed Badi, Stephen Gathuita Mwangi, Patrick Analo, Stephen Mwadime, Richard Mumo and Fredrick Ochanda. Others from NEMA are Mamo B. Mamo, Zephania Ouma, Salome Machua, Jimmy Owiti, Anthony Saisi, Reagan Awino, Chief Inspector Mohamed Sasura and Cpl Fredrick Isinga.
From NCA, the residents want, among others, Eng. Maurice Aketch, Arch, Stephen Mwilu, Eng. Bowen Kanda, Cindy Ogola, Yvonne M Getugi and Brian Otuke be enjoined as Respondents.
The residents have also named Ali Ibrahim Hamamed, Ameey Homes Limited, Arch. Salim Komora, Eng. Wilson Lepartobiko, Koch Construction Company Ltd, Caleb Robi, Main Constructors Company Limited and Gulf Premix Limited who have been and are the main suppliers of building materials.