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UKay Mall in Westlands demolished

The multi-agency team handling Nairobi’s regeneration has started demolishing Ukay Centre in Westlands even after its owners went to court to stop it.

CBD Chief Julius Wanjau, who is in charge of the operation, said they were not served with the court order that Ukay owners claim to have obtained.

“Even if we are served, we will not stop pulling down the building as we are executing an executive order,” he said.

According to Ukay management, the building is not put up on a river but sits 10 metres from a canalised stream. The building manager, Veeral Shah, said they adhered to all the requirements  when putting up the building.

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Ukay Centre in Westlands, Nairobi county, is torn down as part of an exercise to reclaim restricted areas, August 10, 2018. /EZEKIEL AMING'A

Owners of the centre earlier asked the court to stop the destruction of the property worth Sh900 million.

Demolitions are taking place across the city as part of efforts by the government to save riparian land. About 4,000 buildings are earmarked for demolition in an operation to clear illegal structures from river banks in Nairobi.

The inter-agency team includes officials from Nema, Water Resources Authority, the Nairobi government, ministries of Environment and Public Works. It was formed to bring down structures that had encroached on wetland.

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The operation expected to take two months kicked off in Kileleshwa on August 6. A Java coffee house within the Shell petrol station and perimeter walls of several residential apartments in the upmarket estate were pulled down.

In a statement on August 6, NEMA said: “This activity will continue for facilities where the notices issues have lapsed and a cost to the proponents of these structures.”

It noted its mandate to ensure a “clean, healthy and sustainable environment for all”.On Thursday, President Uhuru Kenyatta told state agencies to prosecute officials found culpable of allocating riparian and public utility land to private developers.

Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko warned that all properties on road reserves, waterways or riparian land will be demolished.The county boss said no one will be spared in the crackdown which will include his property in Buruburu.

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