Airgate Centre, popularly known as Taj Mall, which was demolished on Saturday, sat on oil pipeline, the Kenya Pipeline Company (KPC) has said.
In a statement, KPC Managing Director Joel Sang said the building— owned by Nairobi real estate mogul Rameshchandra Govino Gorasia— was a threat not only to tenants but also to residents living in adjacent areas.
The mall, he said, was also a threat “to the supply of fuel in the country and the East African region.”
He said the affected lines are the old Mombasa-Nairobi pipeline (Line 1) and the new recently completed Mombasa-Nairobi pipeline (Line 5).
The company supported the demolition, saying it is a move to safeguard the safety and integrity of the oil pipeline. Mr Sang urged people who have put up illegal structures on KPC reserves to demolish them.
“KPC has already embarked on an exercise to remove all the illegal structures and buildings across the pipeline network,” the statement sent on Saturday evening reads in part.
“We hereby urge all the persons who have erected illegal structures or settled illegally on our right of way to move out with immediate effect in the interest of safety and security of fuel supply for the country and the region.”
On Saturday, Mr Gorasia, who had dared the government to demolish his property, called on the Directorate of Criminal Investigations to investigate the Nairobi City Council (now Nairobi City County) officials who approved construction of the mall.
“It is very wrong to demolish this building claiming it is on a road reserve. The good thing is that with land, they are all documented, starting from the title deed, change of user, and all the other approvals, and these documents are all in place,” Mr Gorasi told journalists.
Kura director-general Silas Kinoti said the demolition was necessary, citing “serious traffic flow challenges” at the junction.
“In due course, motorists should now expect functional slip roads, service roads, and other necessary facilities to improve movement of traffic,” he said.
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