Hundreds of jobs in the construction sector and multi-million dollar real estate investments have been frozen after hackers breached the Nairobi Metropolitan Services (NMS) online application system, forcing development plan approvals to be suspended. .
Hackers gained access to the system’s quick response (QR) code and made numerous illegal approvals, prompting officials to shut it down.
The QR system is part of the electronic construction development plan application system used to search for construction plans and building permits.
The system provides a unique electronic identification of all approved architectural and structural plans, eliminating the need for property developers to submit hard copies of development plans for physical sealing as a final approval mark.
NMS Deputy Managing Director Kangethe Thuku confirmed the non-compliance and suspension of approvals.
“We discovered that the electronic building system was recently hacked and we have stopped using that system for the time being while we look for a solution,” Thuku said.
The gap was discovered following concerns raised by the Kenyan Residents Association (Kara) about increasing cases of building construction in zoned areas that go against the floor policies of such zones, especially in Muthaiga North. . However, this is not the first time that NMS has discontinued the QR code system. The online system was launched by the City Council on March 29, 2020, but was later discontinued in May of that year when NMS took over along with electronic construction. development plan implementation system before introducing the current system, the electronic construction development control system.
This was after President Uhuru Kenyatta ordered Maj-Gen Badi to take control of the system and remove the cartels that had taken over the approvals sector, creating a backlog of 4,400 raw development project applications at the time. The QR system was only restored in November of last year.
Thuku said the system has made it easy to approve development plans since its launch with at least 7,299 development apps approved in just under a year.
Additionally, eliminating physical contact from sealed documents has helped reduce corruption in the building permit approval process.