Police start probing papers of all condemned buildings
A special desk has been set up at the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) headquarters to register the concerns of those affected by the ongoing demolitions.
National Police Service spokesperson Charles Owino said the special desk had been set up for owners of the buildings that have been earmarked for demolition to present all the approval documents that they were granted by relevant government agencies before they commenced construction.
“It is only fair that you go to the multi-agency taskforce to present your papers and also to come to our desk and you will be told whether it is earmarked for demolition or not. The desk will be open on weekdays from 8am to 4pm,” said Mr Owino.
He said the process is meant to support investigations that will be carried out to prosecute those who approved the constructions with impunity and without regard to the rule of law.
“In the process, one may come up with a very genuine agreement that may save your property. It is also good for the purpose of your own personal defence,” he said.
Mr Owino also asked proprietors of buildings that have not been marked for demolition but feel that their buildings are built on riparian land to present their approved documents and land titles to the same desk for verification.
He, however, said that the demolitions will continue, arguing that the process cannot just stop because people have put a lot of money in their property. He said nobody can be given leeway to destroy the environment.
“It cannot happen. Things must be done in the right way and this is going to be a lesson to those who will be sitting today and saying ‘I have been given instructions.’ The instruction may be verbal and you may not be in a position to prove tomorrow that you were given the instruction, so you have to take personal responsibility,” he said.
At the same time, the NPS spokesperson reiterated that government officers involved in the approval of buildings in riparian land will face prosecution.
Mr Owino said that the move is aimed at setting a precedence for other government officers who are involved in approving illegalities that no matter their position, influence or money, they cannot be used to authenticate illegalities.
“We must make those persons who approved the buildings at that particular time take responsibility. If you are a government officer and you were involved in approving an illegality, then you must take responsibility,” said Mr Owino.
He asked investors to go through the requisite standards provided for in law to avoid finding themselves in a position where one only relies on the money and power they have for influence, saying that money and power has limitations.
“If today you think you are influential because you know me, you should know that tomorrow I will not be there and so you should only ensure that influence is based on legality,” he said.