Car owner queries Sh1.3m penalty 'for accident he did not commit'

A motorbike lies beneath a damaged car at Kiboswa, along Kisumu-Kakamega Highway after the motorbike entered the road from the opposite Direction ramming on the car that was heading towards Kakamega from Kisumu. [File, Standard]

Sometime during the Covid-19 lockdown, Protus Shimenga had an accident involving his car in Kakamega.

He, however, got a shocker after he was served with a judgment requiring him to pay one Daniel Wafula Sh1.3 million for an alleged accident along Gitanga- Muthangari road junction in Nairobi.

In the case, it was alleged that Shimenga’s vehicle hit Wafula’s motorbike. Shimenga is now before the High Court.

He said that it is puzzling to him that his vehicle is alleged to have knocked someone in Nairobi while he was at Kakamega.

“The accident in question happened during the lockdown as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic and I was in Kakamega with my car and I am not aware how it was involved in an accident in Nairobi,” he said.

According to him, it has become impossible to pursue an appeal as Muthangari police officers have refused to give him the Occurrence Book report, a P3 issued to Wafula and an abstract from vehicle inspection that was generated.

In his case, Shimenga urged the court to find that the three crucial documents are public information that should be freely issued upon request.

He told the court he was  not aware of the accident until he was handed the judgment.

“I was not aware of this accident until I was served with the judgment. I went to Muthangari Police station to be issued with the particulars of the accident but I was not given the information.”

“Ordinarily the Police Abstract, the OB extract, the Motor Vehicle Inspection Report and a Copy of the P3 Form are public information which should be furnished upon request. I have requested for the same pursuant to the Access to Information Act but the Traffic Commandant has refused neglected and/or deliberately declined to furnish me with the documents,” argued Shimenga.

Wafula had sued Shimenga and Beatrice Wanjiru.

In his case, Wafula alleged that on or about June 1, 2020, he was riding his motorcycle registration number KMEC 595Y along Gitanga Muthangari road junction when Wanjiru collided with him.

He claimed that he suffered serious injuries.

In the lower court, the judgment indicated that a Shimenga was represented and admitted that the vehicle indicated by Wafula was his. He however denied knowing Wanjiru.

In the lower court, Shimenga denied that Wafula was riding the motorcycle on Gitanga road as alleged and also dismissed negligence claims. A magistrate court gave a judgment against Wanjiru as she never appeared. Wafula called corporal George Ratemo from Muthangari police station. The officer produced police abstract dated September 18, 2020 as an exhibit.

Ratemo confirmed the occurrence of the accident on June 1, 2020 at about 1700hrs along Gitanga - Muthangari junction involving motor cycle KMEC 595 and motor vehicle KAK 332D which was being driven by Wanjiru.

The officer stated that upon conducting investigations, they blamed the driver of motor vehicle for causing the accident. 

He stated further that details including the driving licence and insurance sticker were taken at the scene.

On cross-examination Ratemo testified that neither the owner nor the driver of the suit motor vehicle was charged.

Ratemo stated further that the abstract contained the details of the driver which were lifted from the OB.

Shimenga is said to have testified and admitted that the vehicle was his. He admitted that the police abstract indicated his vehicle was involved in the accident but he accused the police of lying. In the High Court, Shimenga claimed that he demanded for documents about the accident but he was not furnished with any.

He wants the court to compel Muthaiga police officers to hand him the documents of the case.