Nairobi Governor, Mike Mbuvi Sonko, has stated that there was a cartel in his administration that approved sub-standard buildings in Nairobi on Monday.
His statement came out as a result of 7 children losing their lives and 64 others injured in a Monday morning accident where classrooms collapsed on them at Precious Talent School on Ngong Road in Nairobi.
In a Facebook post, he first of all expressed his grief and offered a message of condolence to the aggrieved.
He then said that he discovered the existence of a cartel after he commissioned a comprehensive systems audit that exposed the activities of rogue officials within his administration.
“They had been flouting the Physical Planning Act and zoning regulations with impunity while running an extortion ring to provide building approvals that do not meet the set standards,” Sonko said.
According to the governor, the audit was launched as a result of numerous complaints from landowners, property developers and the general public against the Nairobi City-County Planning Department.
In order for the cartel to succeed in their activities, the officers would switch off the digital system at City Hall to by-pass the official channel in issuing building approvals Sonko revealed.
This according to Sonko resulted in the suspension of the County Chief Officer for Planning, Mr. Justus Kathenge, “who was singled out as the ring-leader of the unlawful and repugnant activities…In fact, he went ahead to lie to me that the system had been switched off by the World Bank when the audit commenced, an allegation that was refuted by the Bank, as they had handed full access and control over the system to the Planning Department, ” his statement partially read.
Mr Kathenge and the entire planning committee had been successfully integrated into Sonko’s government following a successful run under former Nairobi Governor, Evans Kidero.
Avoiding the blame game nonetheless, throwing some shade, he noted the inspection and approval of primary and secondary schools fell under the Ministry of Education.
He also added he wished to offer his personal commitment to work with the Ministry of Education and all relevant national government departments to ensure that such an incident will never occur again.