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Owner of collapsed building arrested in hideout

Police are holding the owner of the building that collapsed in Nairobi’s Kaloleni estate killing eight people and injuring several others.

Makadara DCIO, Zack Nagulu said Mr David Kamonjo was arrested  in his hideout  in Dandora estate.

“He will be arraigned in court once we are through with the investigations” Mr Nangulu told Nairobi News.

He added that investigating officers had applied for the court to allow them to detain the suspect for a week to enable them conclude their investigations.

DETAINED

Mr Kamonjo will therefore be detained at the Industrial Area Police Station till Monday January 5, when he is expected to take a plea in court.

The five-storey residential building that was partly occupied and still under construction caved in at around 3.30 a.m. on December 17.

Residents said that the ground, the first and the second floors of the building had already been fully occupied. Each floor had five units.

Most of the tenants of the flat were university students who mostly cohabited in the units made up of single rooms and one-bedrooms.

Kaloleni Residents Association chairman Ezra Olack said the ground on which the building was constructed was marked as an estate playing ground.

“We have copies of the letter we wrote to the county government of Nairobi two years ago concerning the illegal allocation of the playing ground and also the disaster in waiting but they have not responded” Mr Olack said.

The association wanted the county government to take full responsibility of the disaster, as they claimed that it had been issuing allotment letters to allow developers to construct on public land.

SUBSTANDARD MATERIALS

Nairobi Deputy Governor Jonathan Mueke said the collapsed Kaloleni building had been built with substandard materials and that it was not cleared for occupation.

Just a week after the Kaloleni disaster, tenants two buildings in Baba Dogo in Kasarani were evacuated when the building started to crack.

Kasarani OCPD Francis Sang’ said that one of the buildings, a four-storey building had been cordoned off and residents barred from getting near it. It has been earmarked for demolition.

Tenants of the other building, located in Lawdra have been given a week to vacate the building as it was also marked as dangerous for inhabiting.

Recently, the Nairobi County Government rubbished a report stating that a large number of buildings in Nairobi were not up to the standards and risked collapsing.

 

RISKED COLLAPSE

The report by Questworks, a design and engineering firm, also stated that at least three out four buildings in Nairobi risked collapse in case of an earth tremor.

The report says contractors who steal cement and use less steel are to blame for most of the weaknesses. Architects and engineers also add to the exposure by failing to verify the quality of the works.

In his response on social media, Mr Kidero said the report was an extract from an academic work whose objective and methodology employed is not known to us and the industry stakeholders.

“I expected the researcher to have consulted the Nairobi City County as the authority in charge of developments in the city” he said.

“Furthermore there is no evidence that the research report has been subjected to peer review. Arising from this, the study is not based on correct information and data and at best is alarming.”