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Counties

City Hall to vet titles for public utility land

Nairobi governor Mike Sonko
Nairobi governor Mike Sonko. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Investors holding title deeds and lease certificates for plots standing on public utility land in Nairobi County will be denied approvals to build residential or commercial properties.

Governor Mike Sonko said the county government’s building plans approval committee was under strict instructions to first authenticate the location and status of every land parcel, a move that is expected to further slow down property development in the capital city.

“My officers must firmly observe the law when executing their mandate and ensure that only holders of clean land ownership papers get approval to build,” he said.

Speaking in Nairobi yesterday, Mr Sonko warned that anyone found putting up unapproved development, regardless of the cost would regret as the county government will move in and implement the law. He made the remarks during the 90th anniversary celebrations for the county pension scheme.

“Not even my friends will be spared. No intimidation or coercion will make us bend the law,” he said.

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Mr Sonko said he had recovered prime parcels of land in posh estates and within Nairobi’s central business area that were illegally alienated by unscrupulous people. He said the parcels were now available for redevelopment under a public private partnership arrangement for better service delivery to city residents.

The announcement by the county government comes amid a slowdown in the construction sector as new building plan approvals fell by Sh30.5 billion last year, a four-year low of Sh210.3 billion compared to Sh205 billion reported in 2014.

This arose mainly from fears over authenticity of plots after the government, under the Nairobi Regeneration team, kicked off demolition of various properties standing on riparian and road reserves.

Taj Mall (Airgate Mall) in Embakasi, Nakumatt Ukay, South End Mall on Lang’ata Road and a Java House outlet in Kileleshwa were some of the properties that were brought down.

The demolitions adversely affected skilled and unskilled construction sector jobs.

Property developers have cried foul over the ongoing demolitions, saying they hurt investments with real estate firm HassConsult warning that lack of a foolproof land ownership regime made many investors withhold their money or shift their investments to other countries.

Last year, consumption of cement dropped by five percent to 5.49 million tonnes from 5.79 million tonnes in 2017.

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