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Roysambu building death toll expected to hit eight

Four bodies have been retrieved from the residential building in Roysambu that collapsed while still under construction on Thursday morning.

Assistant director of National Youth Service Patrick Muchai, the officer in charge of the rescue operation, said two of the dead have since been identified.

The four bodies were retrieved on Thursday night and rescuers expect to retrieve four more from the rubble.

OWNER SURVIVED

Mr Muchai said nine people, among them the owner of the six-storey building and one of his aides, survived the 10.30 a.m. incident.

“Eight were taken to hospital, six were discharged and two are still admitted,” Mr Muchai told the media.

Area residents said construction of the building started in June last year and was rushed. In total, the building had 17 people at the time of collapse and only 13 are accounted for.

Director of Criminal Investigations Ndegwa Muhoro ordered the building contractor, architect and Nairobi county officials involved in the licensing of construction works in the city to report to Karasani DCIO by close of business Friday.

“We will also pick up the developer once he is out of hospital and the county officials charged with the responsibility of inspecting buildings in this area should go to the DCIO or will also be arrested,” he said,” said Mr Muhoro.

The acting Lands and Housing Secretary Fred Matiang’i said there was no excuse for the collapse since it is not the first it has happened.

“Negligence and corruption caused the incident. We are working to ensure that developer, and contractor are arrested and people take responsibility for this,” vowed Mr Matiang’i.

“Developer and contractor of will be arrested and arraigned in court for murder. The city council officials in charge of inspecting buildings in the area will also be arrested,” he added.

DENY LICENCES

The CS further called on the National Construction Authority to deny licences to crooked contractors.

The county government officials were yet to visit the site a day after the incident, a move that angered Roysambu Member of County Assembly Peter Warutere.

“We have a serious issue with the Director of Planning who was suspended and still came back to the office. This building was approved in December and was supposed to go up to the third floor. So when county officials allowed it to go to six floors money must have exchanged hands,” he said.

County Assembly Speaker Alex Ole Magelo, who also visited the site, said the county assembly had done its bit of recommending suspension of officers involved in the last incident yet they still returned to their stations  with no investigations being conducted.

“There has not been any step taken against county officials involved in the last incident and worse still I have not seen people from the city planning department visit the site yet someone among them allowed construction to go through,” he said.

Lands PS Mariamu El Maawy said the ministry has completed auditing all buildings in Nairobi’s Huruma estate and the report would soon be availed to the public.

The exercise will then expand to cover other estates in a bid to ascertain the safety of the house.

Nairobi has in the past few months experienced a series of tragedies from collapsed buildings.

On December 17, a five-storey residential building that was partly occupied and still under construction collapsed in Kaloleni. Seven people died in the incident.

Three weeks later, another building collapsed in Huruma killing five people and injuring several others.