Appeal court stays High court ruling that saw Gigiri Hotel demolished

Mr. Praful Kumar, proprietor of the Grand Manor hotel

The Court of Appeal has dismissed a petition filed by the Whitehorse investment limited- A developer of the Hotel Grand Manor.

A three judge bench recently dismissed the application for lacking merit. “We find no merit in this appeal which we dismiss with costs to the Nairobi County Government,” the court ordered.

Justice Benard Eboso threw out the petition by the Whitehorse investments limited arguing that it was premature as the proprietor of the business, Mr Praful Kumar, had failed to appeal against a decision made by the physical planning liaison committee of the Nairobi county government. The learned judge stated that the proprietor ought to have appealed at the committee level before moving it to the Environment and lands court.

However, in the pleadings, Mr Kumar claimed that not only had he complied and obtained all the required approvals from the County for the construction of the hotel but had also paid a Ksh 2.9 million inspection fee.

Moreover he stated that the project was already 75% complete and he had expended over Ksh. 200 million in the building’s construction. 

The proprietor wondered why he still received a letter from the county government of Nairobi that asked him to stop further construction as well as removing the building’s foundation yet he had fulfilled all the conditions of being allowed to carry on the construction . 

Through a city lawyer, Kithinji Marete, the proprietor informed the court that U.S embassy was behind the malicious demolition backing this fact by the U.S embassy’s actions such as conducting surveillance on the top of the multi-million hotel. He further averred that the Hotel’s presence did not pose any risk, including health risks to the residents.

The county government of Nairobi through Lawyer Harrison Kinyanjui said that the notice issued had been within the purview of the county government arguing that Section 30(1) of the Physical Planning Act gives the county government power to issue development permits. He also stated that Section 10(1) (a) of the Physical Planning Act provides appeal mechanisms for aggrieved persons of which the proprietor had ignored.

“The functions of the National Physical Planning Liaison Committee shall be— (a) to hear and determine appeals lodged by a person or local authority aggrieved by the decision of any other liaison committee”

The grand manor hotel was under construction in Gigiri just next to the United States Embassy. It had been demolished in December 2018 by an order from the Environment and lands court. In this case, the appellants failed to convince the court to nullify enforcement notices dated December 14, 2017 which required the developers to stop further construction of the hotel. 

In January 2019, Appellate judges Justice Mohammed Warsame, Daniel Musinga and the late Prof Otieno Odek had suspended further demolitions of the Grand Manor Hotel pending hearing and determination of the appeal filled by the proprietor. “In the mean time status quo the property L.R. NAIROBI/BLOCK 91/239 to be maintain pending hearing of the appeal” ruled the Judges.

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