‘Ultra modern’ Milimani court building falling apart

NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 29 – It has now emerged that the ‘ultra-modern’ Milimani Law Courts building unveiled by President Mwai Kibaki earlier this year is yet another white elephant that cost the taxpayer a staggering Sh1 billion.

Barely 10 months after it was commissioned, Chief Justice Willy Mutunga has sounded alarm over the safety of judicial staff and Kenyans using the building whose ceiling has caved-in, with water leaking all over.

Door handles in almost all floors have broken down, lifts including the VIP ones stopped working and the water leakages keep on triggering electric faults.

Mutunga sums all this as “administrative corruption and incompetence” and he had no kind words for professionals involved in the work.

“I want to state that all the professionals involved in this project must take responsibility. Professional bodies must take disciplinary action against its members who have been part of this mess,” the CJ told journalists when he took them on a tour of the poorly refurbished building.

“Indeed to refer to this building as ultra-modern is to insult both the English language and the intelligence of Kenyans,” the CJ said adding “It is unbelievable that a building that cost the tax payer over Sh1 billion after variation from the original cost of Sh600million is in this sorry state of disrepair.”

To stress his point, Mutunga told reporters judges and staff in the building cannot access the Internet because vital facilities were not installed.

Worried over the quality of construction work, particularly in the courts in Nairobi and other parts of the country, Justice Mutunga announced that he has suspended all the works to pave way for a proper audit.

“I have directed that this building be subjected to an immediate structural audit. I ask the Ministry of Public Works who supervised the contractors to immediately review and reinforce the structures of this building to ensure that it is safe for public use,” Mutunga said of the damaged ceilings and cracks at the ‘ultra modern building’ that is the Milimani Law courts.

“We intended to construct an ultra-modern building however what we have ended up with is a poster project of corruption and failure of engineering, architectural and other professions. The quality of this work demeans the advances made in the architectural and engineering professions through this iconic symbol of incompetence and greed,” the CJ said.

Mutunga said; “it was just by sheer luck that in two of the occasions ceilings caved in, the courts were not in session and nobody was hurt.”

“On the third occasion, a police officer was hurt,” he said and warned a disaster would happen unless urgent measures are taken.

“The digital locks which were installed in some of the sensitive access areas have never worked, it is unimaginable but true that the Judiciary does not have a single complete construction file for this building,” he said.

Mutunga told journalists that even construction records of other Judiciary buildings outside Nairobi were not in their possession.

“This speaks of criminal negligence and serious dereliction of duty,” he regretted.

BERNARD MOMANYI

BERNARD MOMANYI

Bernard is the News Editor at Capital FM. He commands over a decade of experience in news gathering having worked in both print and electronic media. He holds a BSc degree in Information Sciences from Moi University where he is currently enrolled for a Masters programme.

  • john mbatia

    So sad corruption has surfaced not only in halls of justice but also i walls of our justice structural facilities. the  work of brief case contractors who then sub-contract inexperienced and cheap labour.

  • Franklin Mogire

    So sad that we have lowered ourselves to this level of stealing left, right and centre! Bwana CJ, this one heads must roll. If teh audit reveals that people were culpable, then heads must roll. And not the proverbial “stepping aside” we hear from MPs and Ministers! It is a staright “summary dismissal”! Professional bodies involved you ought to do some work here in informing us of what happened. Kshs1bn is just too much to lose for a country going through economic hardship like ours! You are even lucky, CJ had “kind” words for you compared to what I would have said…(fume)  

  • mmnjug ™

    Sad really, but truth be told……we need this saga to help fight corruption in the Min of Public Works and bring contractors to bear with their work. After this fiasco is over……there will be expedited jail terms for many contractors.

    Let the drama begin.

  • Anonymous

    With the harsh words that the CJ used I sure hope it’s not just a barking dog affair

  • Hotpotato

    Get these corrupt brutes. Freeze their bank accounts. Reposes their property. Jail them. Nipe rungu niwatengeneze. This is the only language to use on these people. Imagine some people going for day without food, no clothes, abject povery and SOME PEOPLE go on stealing public money. what a pity!! GET them now..and they should pay for it.

    HotPotato

  • mundu 1

    they are white elephants. Just visit Kenyatta University new buildings and you will be shocked they have fallen apart especially new science laboratories. Very well decorated by outside but very weak and substandard work. Just check the quality work of the Chinese and you will understand what professionalism is. Shame on the greedy engineers and architects.

  • Bmutai

    10months and a leaking roof? WTF! Even my old grass thatched roof last longer than that! And it costs much less than 1b!
    Kenyans are corrupt, but I didn’t think this corrupt… I hope we have a contract on repairs with the builders…

  • Pelems

    Him being a cj I would have been happy to hear him saying that the people who banked our 1b are rotting in jail and our money has been recovered.

  • Guest

    Very unfortunate. Tender process needs to be transparent,
    but obviously this was an under the table. Some small simple things can prevent
    a lot of bad things, if they wanted to prevent the bad things in the first
    place, but folks want a cut, nonetheless, they’ll have to answer on Judgment
    day.