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Owner of collapsed building surrenders to police

The owner of a building that collapsed killing nine people was finally arrested on Wednesday in Kisii, almost a week after it crumbled.

Mr Jeremiah Matoke surrendered himself to detectives in Kisii to record a statement as he had been asked to by the police but was arrested and locked up awaiting charges today.

Police have been looking for him since last week Thursday when the 10-storey building collapsed injuring another 40 people.

This came as the county government faced questions about its failure to stop work at the building after the National Construction Authority (NCA) notified it of the owner’s failure to adhere to its order not to exceed three floors.

The county Deputy Criminal Investigations Officer Charles Mwangi said they were likely to prefer murder charges on him.

“I am not in the office now to give further details but the likely charges will be murder,” Mr Mwangi told the Nation.

Many of those injured are still being attended to at the Kisii Level Six hospital.

SUSPENSION OF WORK

NCA officials said they had twice ordered the suspension of work at the building for going beyond the recommended number of floors.

The drilling of a borehole underneath as construction was still going on was also suspected to have contributed to the collapse.

On Wednesday, Kisii County executives, among them Moses Onderi of lands, were still not forthcoming about the county’s failure to act.

The ill-fated building had been under construction for the last five years and was located a few metres away from the office of the county chief officer of planning Alice Nyariki.

Ms Nyariki declined to comment on the matter saying they had forwarded all the relevant information to the investigating agencies for action.

Civil society groups in Kisii called on the county to compensate families affected by the tragedy.

Kisii Governor James Ongwae, however, said the will waive all hospital expenses for those in hospital and will also hire hearses to ferry the bodies of those who died to their various homes.