The Mombasa County government has halted the construction of a Sh1.8 billion Kenya Maritime Authority (KMA) building.
County Secretary Francis Thoya Monday visited the construction site near Little Theatre Club in Mombasa and ordered that it be shut.
Mr Thoya asked the contractors to first accommodate tenants who were forced to vacate their houses.
The tenants at the residential houses near the construction site raised the alarm after a boundary wall collapsed and forced at least 12 families to vacate their houses for fear of being affected by the construction.
The families have in the last six days spent their nights in the cold on fears that the houses they were living in could collapse.
“Shut this place first and stop the ongoing construction and deal with the compensation of the tenants whom were forced to vacate their houses because of the construction and we are going to monitor you closely,” said Mr Thoya.
KMA began the construction of the building in February this year. It is expected to house KMA's headquarters and the Maritime Technology Cooperation Centre (MTCC) for Africa region.
During the official launch of its construction, Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia said the 13 storey building would take 18 months to complete.
On Monday, Mr Thoya, who was accompanied by the county Lands executive Anthony Njaramba, Senator Mohammed Faki and Mvita MP Abdulswamad Nassir threatened to take the contractors to court if residents around the site be affected by their negligence.
“If you want us to go deep into this we are going to take you to court because already there are laws that you have flouted.
"We were not notified that you guys are starting the excavation and you have no approval certificate from us for the same,” said Mr Thoya.
Moses Ndambuki, the contractor in charge of the site, said they have been working to stabilise the ground after realising the problem.
“We shut down long ago. What we are doing now is the stabilisation of the ground after we realised that houses were being affected.
"One of the elements we agreed to consider was the accommodation of the tenants whom we have been meeting with to deliberate on the same,” said Mr Ndambuki.