Some motorists have sued the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA), accusing the agency of colluding with some businessmen to block them from the business of distributing speed governors.
The motorists, through the Road Safety Association of Kenya, yesterday said they are at risk of losing millions of shillings they invested in importing and assembling the speed limiters after NTSA reportedly changed specifications for required standards in favour of their competitors.
The association pointed an accusing finger at NTSA’s director of motor vehicle inspection Gerard Wangai who it says is behind the alleged scheme to lock them out of the lucrative business.
“When we complained, the NTSA director of motor vehicle inspection began to harass our members by organising unnecessary inspections to intimidate and scare our members in his bid to silence them from exposing the illegal acts in the authority,” said the association’s chairman David Kiarie.
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Kiarie, in his affidavit, stated that they complied with requirements of the speed limiters that were introduced by NTSA in 2018, but were surprised when the authority, without notice, classified their speed governors as sub-standard.
The official swore that the new standards introduced a raft of conditions that require massive investments on the part of the association’s members who are vendors of speed governors and car seat belts.
“We invested heavily in the process of complying with the provisions of the new standards in order for us to get licensed to engage in the business of vending speed limiters. However, the authority has turned its back on our investments in favour of some unscrupulous traders,” said Kiarie.
He claimed that NTSA is forcing the association’s members to install servers and recorders to monitor their speed governors fitted in public service vehicles but allowing other companies to continue selling the gadgets without fulfilling the same conditions.
Kiarie said NTSA has denied them licences to operate even after their members complied with another requirement that they should transmit information to the authority’s storage system, in real time, about any vehicle fitted with their gadgets that is violating the speed limits.
The association also argued that there is no standard system that can be used as a point of reference in assessing conformity of the vendors’ servers to ensure they transmit signals about vehicles that are speeding.
“We even set up our independent server that would be the basic reference point to guarantee accountability in the data transmitted to the NTSA but the authority has never installed its own independent server to date yet it blames us for not complying with the regulations,” said Kiarie.
The association claimed that they have on several occasions informed the authority of some non-compliant and unscrupulous businesses which flout its regulations but nothing has been done because the fraudulent traders are reportedly being protected by some senior NTSA officials.
They want a court declaration that NTSA’s harassment of its members and failure to approve their speed governors is illegal and unconstitutional. They also want Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission to investigate NTSA’s top officials who have allegedly been colluding with some business people to approve sub-standard speed governors.