An Asian tycoon and owner of Oaklands Apartments Limited, Jahangir Tejani is on the spot over a multi-storey building under construction along Peponi Road in Westlands, Nairobi without the requisite approvals, investigations by The Informer have established.
Oaklands Apartments Limited, a project that was under an enforcement notice in October 2021 for surpassing the approved three levels up to nine levels but the order was controversially lifted has no sewer provision.
Further, the development is irregularly being constructed in a single dwelling zoned area without change of user to a multiple dwelling area.
Two senior officers from the Urban Planning and Development Control section are said to have irregularly approved the architectural plans.
However, The Informer established that there are no minutes approving the same since the committee disagreed due to non-conformity of the plans submitted.
“The development has no sewer line provision. Where the sewer treatment plan is designated can easily contaminate the river since there is no mandatory recess of the development from the river as required. Raw sewer can easily contaminate the river as well. This is something the newly formed Nairobi River Commission unveiled by Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua should look into since Nairobi County officials have been compromised.” Our source observed.
According to an Enforcement Notice dated November 30, 2021, Oakland Apartments Limited were barred from further construction for violating Section 67 of Building Code which attracts punishment of an offence of carrying out development contrary to approvals sanctioned or an officer granting approvals contrary to the law.
“Stop further illegal construction, submit satisfactory architectural plans to Nairobi Metropolitan /Nairobi City County for approval, submit satisfactory site engineer reports to NMS/NCC within a period of seven days.” The enforcement notice dated November 30, 2021 reads in part.
At the time the notice was being issued, the building was on level nine despite the approvals issued showed an approval plan of three levels.
Consequently, through a correspondence dated January 12, 2022, Nairobi County Chief Officer Lands who also doubles as the County Executive Committee Member (CECM) nominee for Built Environment and Urban Planning Stephen Gathuita Mwangi popularly known as S.G Mwangi cancelled and lifted the enforcement notice controversially giving the questionable development a clean bill of health.
“Please acknowledge receipt of your appeal letter. Our Enforcement Notice (No.000242) is hereby lifted/ cancelled. You are therefore reminded to liaise with the office of the undersigned for regular statutory inspections to ensure compliance.” The correspondence signed by Mwangi on behalf of the Director General of the defunct NMS retired General Mohamed Badi.
Interestingly, in a sharp contradiction, despite the enforcement notice dated November 30, 2021 showing the development has approval plans up to level three, seven months before, a letter of approval believed to have been backdated dated February 5, 2021 shows the development has approval plans up to nine levels.
The controversial development has been ongoing for the last two years despite incessant complaints by Spring Valley residents seeking to have the development comply with the statutory requirements particularly on sewer line provision and single dwellings regulation to no avail.
When contacted for comment as a right of reply, the developer, Jahangir Tejani did not respond to our calls and short text message sent.
The development located near Spring Valley Shopping Center borders Getathuru River which is a tributary of the Nairobi River. The development is on the edge of Karura Forest.
Despite being under construction, the developer has already started advertising the three and four bedroom apartments four sale under the trade name Oakland Residences.
“Oakland Residences is lucky to be situated at the edge of The Karura Forest Reserve.” Their official website domiciled under Elegant Properties reads in part.
At the site, the mandatory signboard showing the development, plot number and the architect overseeing the project is always put up on and off.
The development is being undertaken on plot number L.R No. 1870/viii/119 Nairobi.
The Nairobi River Commission mandated to come up with initiatives for the protection, restoration, rehabilitation and beautification of Nairobi Rivers and all water bodies within the Nairobi City County is chaired by Dr. Pamela A. Olet.
Other members include; Mumo Musuva representing Nairobi City County; Grace Senewa Mesopirr representing the Ministry of Environment and Forestry; Eva Muhia (Riverine Communities), Elizabeth Wathuti (Civil Society), Carlota Dal Lago (Private Sector), Professor Eng. Elijah Biama (Academia) Duncan Ojwang (Academia) and former Kiambu governor Ferdinand Clifford.
This comes in the wake of disturbing cases unsafe buildings either already occupied or under construction that have claimed lives due to non-compliance blamed on unscrupulous developers and rogue officers from Planning, Development Control and Enforcement departments at City Hall.
Although Nairobi governor Johnson Sakaja has been talking tough, disciplinary measures he has instituted regarding the Kasarani six storey building that collapsed owned by Joel Kamau Kibe killing three and injuring six others only targeted junior officers despite incriminating information linking senior officials at City Hall who are still in office.