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Owner of collapsed Kisumu building arrested

The owner of a building that collapsed in Kisumu Town has been arrested as the county government said it was investigating the incident.

Three people were injured when the building crumbled on Wednesday in Manyatta. They suffered back injuries and fractures, according to medical superintendent Dr Dan Raburu.

Some 30 casual workers had been hired to work at the building, which was on its second floor when it collapsed.

Mr Kennedy Nyangaga, the owner, recorded a statement at the Kisumu Central Police Station on Thursday evening after he was apprehended.

Earlier, county police boss Nelson Ngunjiri said action would only be taken against the owner and the foreman after investigations are completed.

“We can only press charges if the National Construction Authority and the county government establish the law was not followed,” said Mr Njiri.

On Friday, Red Cross Kenya said 12 people who had first been feared missing had all been accounted for.

The Red Cross acting western region branch coordinator Victor Kassam said the case of one person whose brother claimed was still missing had been resolved after it was discovered he had not come to the site on the fateful day.

INVESTIGATION

“We turned the whole block upside down in case there were people trapped in the rubble. So far, all the people on the site on that day have been accounted for,” said Mr Kassam.

He said the three people who were being treated at the Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Teaching and Referral Hospital were in stable condition and would be discharged any time.

Meanwhile, acting Kisumu Town Manager Doris Ombara, told the Saturday Nation that the county government was keen to get to the root of the matter.

She said the building was approved by the city authorities and the files were available.

Ms Ombara said the investigation would focus on whether the contractors followed the specifications in the documents approved by the city.

“We are doing a step-by-step analysis of the issues around the accident. This is based on whether the owner adhered to the laid-down specifications as well as the level of inspection done when the house was under construction,” said Ms Ombara.

A status report will be presented to the county secretary before any action can be taken against the owner if he is found guilty of flouting city building laws.

“We can only press charges against the owner of the building after investigations show that the regulations were flouted,” she said.

In the mean time, rescue operations at the site were closed on Thursday night after no more victims were found in the rubble.

This story was written for publication in the Saturday Nation