Nakumatt ejection to allow Hazina Towers’ completion

Saturday December 23 2017

A crane outside Hazina Trade Centre in Nairobi. file photo | nmg

A crane outside Hazina Trade Centre in Nairobi. file photo | nmg 

By JAMES KARIUKI
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Nakumatt Supermarket’s eviction from Hazina Towers on Friday paves the way for completion of the Hazina Trade Centre, which has fallen years behind schedule.

Hazina Towers’ owner, the National Social Security Fund (NSSF), has intimated its plans to stop construction at the 15th floor, as opposed to an earlier target of 39 floors which would have made it the tallest building in Nairobi.

The NSSF ejected its anchor tenant, Nakumatt, over non-payment of rent arrears currently standing at Sh73 million.

The NSSF has since acquired approvals from regulatory agencies to resume construction, with the National Construction Authority approving resumption of the building.

Construction began in June 2013, and was to take 155 weeks with an expected completion date of July 2016.

Injunction

But Nakumatt obtained an injunction in 2014 stopping construction at the 15th floor (38 per cent).

The contractor, China Jiangxi International Kenya, had been paid Sh1.9 billion at the time.

The Auditor-General’s Office has since urged NSSF to take legal action against Nakumatt for stopping construction saying workers’ funds running into billions of shillings was at stake.

Speaking at this year’s NSSF annual general meeting in Nairobi, its Trustee Anthony Munyiri told participants that tenders were floated seeking a contractor with priority set at ending construction.

Plans to raise the building to 39 floors were abandoned after safety fears were raised over the building’s concrete structural beams ability to hold its weight beyond the 25th floor.