Kiambu: 4 county officials locked up for 10 days in collapsed building case

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2022 14:47 | By
Kiambu: 4 county officials locked up for 10 days in collapsed building case
The four officials of Kiambu county government's planning department who were arraigned at the Kiambu Law Courts on Tuesday, November 22, 2022. PHOTO/Clement Kamau

Four employees of the Kiambu county government have been detained for 10 days to allow police to conclude investigations into an incident where a building collapsed in Ruaka killing two people.

The orders were issued by Kiambu Law Courts Principal Magistrate Manuela Kinyanjui after the investigating officer Moses Maina through a miscellaneous application sought to be granted 14 days to complete investigations into the incident.

The four suspects are Stephen Njiraini, John Murimo,  Njeri Wanjiku and Geoffrey Kamau, all from the county's planning department.

In a sworn affidavit Maina told the court that he is investigating a manslaughter case where the four suspects were directly or indirectly involved in the approval and progress monitoring of the construction of the collapsed six-storey residential building.

"On 17th November 2022 at about 3 am a six-storey building which was under construction at Ruaka town crumbled down on adjacent houses of neighbours thereby killing two people," Maina informed the court.

Maina further told the court that the respondents' mandates include getting drawings, monitoring ongoing projects under construction, serving notices to non-compliant developments and enforcing the requirements of the notices served.

The investigating officer also informed the court that post-mortem examinations have not been conducted to establish the real cause of death of the two people who perished in the incident.

He said that he needs more time to be able to get more information from National Environment Management Authority (NEMA), National Construction Authority (NCA), and county government among other offices.

The investigating officer told the court that the suspects are likely to interfere with investigations if set free, adding that police are still pursuing more suspects in the matter.

The defence lawyer opposed the application, urging the court not to detain the suspects without trial. He assured the presiding magistrate that his clients would present themselves to court whenever required to do so.

The magistrate granted the investigating officer 10 days to complete his investigations and ordered that the suspects be detained at Karuri Police station.

The matter will be heard on December 8, 2022.

Meanwhile, the owner of the building, Jennifer Wangari Kamau, who was arrested at the Jomo Kenyatta International airport JKIA while trying to flee the country was not presented in court as she is said to have fallen ill and admitted to the Metropolitan Hospital.

According to the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI), the 59-year-old was leaving for the United States (US) when detectives arrested her.

“Following the arrest, Jeniffer was taken ill and rushed to a city hospital by our officers, where she is receiving treatment before being arraigned in court,” DCI said on Monday.

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