Complicit officers, who either collude with fraudsters or do not pay attention to details, have also been a part of the problem leading to people with genuine cases not getting compensated when involved in accident
By Amos Kareithi
Kenyan roads have turned into a death trap, where an average 3,000 Kenyans are losing their lives annually in horrific road crashes, even as cabal conspirators rake in billons.
This cabal, investigations reveal, is composed of corrupt insurance agents, traffic police officers and ambulance chasers, who have turned road accidents into opportunities of making money from the dead and the dying.
The racket, which has transformed the country’s highways into an industry of death, has also dealt a crippling blow to the insurance industry, where insurance firms are also dying at an alarming rate, leaving public transport in chaos and travellers uninsured and exposed. Currently, insurance industry sources intimate only three companies registered in the country are willing to underwrite matatus. None is ready to insure public transport motorcyclists (boda boda).
“The public transport insurance underwriting has been infiltrated by ambulance chasers who work with lawyers and traffic police to fleece the industry and victims,” Mr Boniface Kieti, an insurance broker explains.
Whereas insurance companies have entrusted investigators to investigate claims filed by accident victims, there are cases investigators are corrupted by imposters to write favourable reports of injuries suffered by bogus victims.
The Police, investigations indicate, have also not been keen on conducting independent investigations trusting the investigators reports, which supported by P3 forms and medical reports were used by magistrates to issue hefty awards.
At the Malindi Police Station, The Standard On Saturday team watched in disbelief as traffic police inspectors issued licenses and inspection stickers without verifying the mechanical state of the vehicles.
“You have seen how easy it is to get a license; In fact one of the stickers they have given me is for a matatu whose speed governor certificate has expired. By paying Sh1,000 they have licensed me to operate my matatu,” intimated an operator, who requested not to be named for fear of reprisals.
Statistics from the Malindi Traffic department are worrying because in 2011, a total of 44 people perished in 40 road accidents. However, the number of cases filed in Malindi courts for traffic offences is lower than the cases recorded at the police as out of the 40 accidents, only 13 drivers were charged with cases of causing death by dangerous driving.
“The minimum award for a child killed in a road accident is Sh120,000. For an adult, the award can go up to Sh3 million depending on the age and occupation of the deceased,” the Managing Director of Amaco Insurance Company, Kennedy Abincha says.