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Motorists welcome new rules, decry corruption in traffic court

COUNTIES
By Joe Kiarie | June 6th 2015

Motorists have welcomed new guidelines on traffic offences, hailing them as a major breakthrough in the fight against corruption.

Among issues singled out for special praise was introduction of the Notice to Attend Court (NTAC) within seven days as well as the provision not to hold minor traffic offenders in custody.

“Issuance of notices will not just save motorists time but also inconveniences and degrading treatment in the hands of the police,” said Peter Murima, Motorists Association of Kenya chairman.

Mr Murima said police officers have been minting millions of shillings through cash bail and is optimistic the revised guidelines will tackle the vice.

“I have a long list of motorists who have paid cash bail but are still struggling to get their money back long after they appeared in court. Others don’t actually know they are supposed to get it back,” he said.

Under the new rules, magistrates will have to ensure cash bails collected by police are availed in court before offenders take plea.

Those who plead guilty will pay their fines through the deposit account provided by the Judiciary’s Directorate of Finance.

Among the main victims of the earlier system were matatu crews. Some have spent time in remand prison despite having cash to secure their freedom.

Matatu Drivers and Conductors Association chairman Samson Wainaina recalls his ordeal when he was recently arrested in Kilimani for obstruction.

“I paid a cash bail of Sh5,000 and was fined Sh10,000 when I appeared in court the next day. I had Sh5,000 in cash but the police were yet to avail the cash bail in court and I had to spend over three hours in the cells trying to raise the balance,” he said.

Yet, Wainaina counts himself lucky. He described a well-organised extortion cartel involving the police, court staff and brokers.

Isaac Nguru, a driver plying the Kileleshwa route, said court brokers have been making a killing out of the desperation.

Under the new guidelines made by the National Committee on Administration of Justice, offenders punishable by fine or imprisonment for at most six months will not be held in police custody.

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