What you need to know:
- According to the Physical and Land Planning Act, the County Chief Officer is responsible for approving building plans.
- The assembly probe follows complaints over a flawed building approval system operated by the county assembly.
A junior officer at the Nairobi City County government is on the spotlight after it emerged that he has been providing building approvals without the knowledge of the county officials.
Mr Frederick Ochanda, the Acting Assistant Director Development Control astonished members of the county assembly he informed the committee he has approved the construction of close to 600 buildings applications without the knowledge of the CEC Stephen Mwangi and the Chief Officer Patrick Analo.
While appearing before the Nairobi City County Assembly’s planning committee, Mr Ochanda claimed to have received the powers to approve building construction from the county governor after he was appointed into the office in the month of August.
“The powers belong to the chief officer but they were delegated to be through the appointment letter that I received from the office of the governor. The chief officer was present when I was handed over the appointment letter by the governor and informed about the duties I will be carrying out,” Mr Ochanda told the committee.
Mr Analo however denied delegating his duties of approving buildings to the junior officer and said the rights to the approval system were provided to Mr Ochanda without his knowledge.
“I do not have such rights to the system and I cannot therefore give what I do not have. I cannot account for the building approvals that have been released by the county government because I do not have the rights to the system. The system has the records on who provides these approvals.” Mr Analo said.
According to the Physical and Land Planning Act, the County Chief Officer is responsible for approving building plans.
However, Mr Ochanda told the committee he receives applications from developers which he later submits to the Urban Planning Technical Committee which later goes through them before providing approvals.
Although the committee provides the approvals, Mr Ochanda had been accused by members of the technical committee of giving a green-light to the construction of building despite the committee rejecting them. Some of the approvals bear the signature of the Chief Officer Patrick Analo. Mr Analo however disowned them.
The County Executive Member for Built Environment and Urban Planning Stephen Mwangi also informed the county assembly he does not have the rights to the building approval system.
“I can view the approvals in the system but I cannot even comment as the CEC. I can only see and see the progress in the approval process but I cannot approve or disapprove the construction of these buildings,” Mr Mwangi said.
The assembly probe follows allegations by the Architecture Association of Kenya (AAK) and residents over a flawed building approval system operated by the county assembly.
AAK has accused the county government of intentionally sabotaging the building approval system necessitating the use of manual approval systems by the county. Different residents association had also complained about the change of user by the county government.