The Nairobi Metropolitan Services (NMS) was forced to suspend development approvals after hackers breached the e-construction development system.

Reports indicate that the hackers accessed the system’s Quick Response (QR) code and approved numerous illegal projects, forcing NMS to shut down the system.

As part of the e-construction development system, the QR is employed in the approvals of building plans and issuance construction permits.

When applying for a construction permit or submitting architectural designs to NMS, the system generates a unique electronic ID eliminating the need for physical stamping of hardcopies.

The system breach and suspension of project approvals was confirmed by NMS Deputy Director-General Kangethe Thuku.

“We discovered that the e-construction system was recently hacked into and we have stopped using that system for the time being as we look for a solution,”  he said.

The breach was discovered after the Kenya Alliance of Residents Association (Kara) raised concerns over the construction of buildings in zoned-off areas and against floor policies, especially in the Muthaiga North area.

The QR code system was launched at City Hall on March 29, 2020, and it not the first time it has been suspended.

NMS suspended it in May last year when it took over the system. This was after President Uhuru Kenyatta directed Director General Mohammed Badi to root out cartels manipulating the system. At the time, there were 4,400 unapproved requests.

The QR code system was restored in November 2020.