Kinyuru Munuhe @kinyurumunuhe
Nairobi Governor Mike Mbuvi Sonko yesterday stopped the construction of a Sh20 billion building—AVIC Tower—in Nairobi’s Westlands area for allegedly encroaching on a road reserve.
Subsequently, 15 Chinese workers and two Kenyans were arrested and arraigned in a Nairobi court for allegedly erecting a building without approved plans as required by Physical Planning Act.
They denied the charge and were released on Sh100,000 cash bail each.
When complete, the Chinese-owned 43-storey building, adjacent to Villa Rosa Kempinski hotel, is set to be the tallest building in Nairobi. It is expected to host JW Mariott Hotel.
Sonko sensationally claimed the construction had been allowed by corrupt county officials who had received a Sh200 million bribe.
“We wish to inform the general public especially people residing around Parklands, Westlands and Riverside that we have this morning stopped the construction of the AVIC International Building…and arrested all the Chinese and Kenyan contractors on site for defying the county planning laws,” he wrote on his Facebook account.
The halting of the building construction of the hotel could end the war between Sima Corporation, which owns Kempinski, and China Avic International.
The two have been locked in legal battle in which the National Environment Management Authority has been dragged.
Avic obtained Nema’s green light to erect the building, but construction was temporarily halted in 2016 after Simba petitioned the National Environment Tribunal in 2015 on grounds that the former had not demonstrated how it intends to address storm water drainage, noise and air pollution during construction.