Owner of Kisii killer build­ing held by po­lice

The Star (Kenya) - - News - ANGWENYI GICHANA @agichana

The owner of the build­ing that col­lapsed in Kisii town, killing eight peo­ple last Thurs­day has been ar­rested.

Kisii DCI Charles Mwangi said Jeremiah Ma­toke was ar­rested yes­ter­day when he sur­ren­dered to the Kisii po­lice sta­tion “We have recorded his state­ment and he will be taken to court today,” Mwangi said.

Ma­toke may face mur­der and other charges re­lat­ing to vi­o­la­tion of the Na­tional Con­struc­tion Au­thor­ity reg­u­la­tions.

Ma­toke went un­der­ground im­me­di­ately the 10-storey build­ing col­lapsed and se­cu­rity chiefs urged him to sur­ren­der. On Mon­day, he failed to turn up for ques­tion­ing and sent his lawyer, who told de­tec­tives his client was ail­ing.

The de­vel­oper had ig­nored sus­pen­sion or­ders from the NCA, stop­ping con­struc­tion of the house af­ter he ex­ceeded the ap­proved five floors.

Trans­port CS James Macharia blamed the Kisii county gov­ern­ment and po­lice for fail­ing to en­force the or­ders. The CS ques­tioned the ca­pac­ity of coun­ties to ap­prove and su­per­vise build­ings. He told the Par­lia­men­tary Com­mit­tee on Trans­port that the house crum­bled due to a weak mix of concrete, qual­ity and load­ing the build­ing.

But Kisii Gov­er­nor James Ong­wae said the county gov­ern­ment is not to blame. “This cul­ture of pass­ing the buck must stop. This is why dur­ing the res­cue and re­cov­ery ef­forts, I did not ap­por­tion blame to any­one, in­clud­ing the na­tional gov­ern­ment,” he said.

/BEN­SON NYAGESIBA

Res­cue team at the site where a build­ing col­lapsed in Kisii last Thurs­day

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