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Detectives unearth cartel behind fake City Hall receipts, permits

Detectives from the anti-corruption commission and City Hall’s investigation unit have arrested the kingpins behind a well connected cartel that has been pocketing millions of shillings in exchange of fake Nairobi county documents.

The cartel has for years worked in cohort with senior officials in the Lands and Urban Planning departments in issuing various fake documents including building planning approvals, payment receipts, fire certificates, occupation certificates, public health certificates among others.

On Thursday last week, detectives from the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) and City Hall investigations department arrested five people during a raid at their office in Pioneer Building, Kenyatta Avenue.

CITY HALL EMPLOYEE

The five were Bonny Stephen Otieno, a City Hall employee in the Urban Planning departemt, Francis Akaranga, a former Planning Officer at City Hall who retired in 2008, William Mwangi who was once an intern at the Planning Department, Isaac Muriuki a student at the Nairobi Institute of Technology and Elisaba Mirungi.

The five ran a company, Dimension Construction, that has been issuing the fake documents.

City Hall officials say the cartel has issued hundreds of fake building plans to allow the construction of houses in upmarket suburbs including Kileleshwa, Kilimani and Karen.

Speaking exclusively to Nairobi News,  the Nairobi County Director of Investigation Geoffrey Gathurima said the cartel played a significant role in the sprouting of illegal buildings as well as ‘approval’ of structurally unsound buildings.

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PHOTO | FILE
PHOTO | FILE

 

“We have been chasing this syndicate since 2013 and on Thursday we found a breakthrough after a motorist whose vehicle had been impounded produced what turned out to be a fake receipt,” he said.

FAKE COPIES

Mr Gathurima said that during the raid they confiscated 20 assorted stamps as well as fake public health certificates, occupation certificates, approved building plans, fire certificates, a quality surveyor stamp belonging to an employee by the name Patrick Mutisya and a stamp from an architect called Simiyu Nakitare.

The detectives also recovered property files of LR/209/2954 belonging to Samson Teela Akute and LR 209/2947 belonging to Tebeze crescent.

Ordinarily, all Property files are supposed to be kept at the Quality Surveyor office at City Hall. How the five got their hands on the files will also be investigated.

Four laptops were also were also confiscated to help in investigation.

“We found 13 approved buildings plans which had been stamped by the Chief Officer Lands and Urban Planning Rose Muema awaiting to be collected and 12 unapproved ones. We are still carrying out investigation if they were signed by the county official,” said Mr Gathurima..

ARCHITECT SUMMONED

He added that they also summoned architect Simiyu Nakitare to give an explanation on how he was involved with the firm and how the plans ended up in the office.

“Because this involves fraud related to structural engineering, we don’t know if the houses are safe, unsafe or suitable for habitation,” said Mr Gathurima.

The cartel is said to have preyed on unsuspecting clients, including matatu owners whose vehicles are allocated illegal parking licences in the city centre, and raked millions over the years.

Mr Gathurima said City Hall will review all buildings that members of the cartel worked on to determine if they are structurally sound.