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NEWS > 29 November 2005

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 Article sourced from

Kenya Times - Kenya
29 November 2005
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Time to act on road graft

THE story of how the government losses an estimated Sh 200 million monthly in forgone fines has been unearthed. We have enumerated how corrupt traffic offenders grease the palms of corrupt police officers, ripping of the government of huge chunks of money.

The story was motivated by a recent disclosure that the government collected Sh 50 million in fines in the month of September this year.

As reported, route cartels, matatu and PSV organizations have been paying protection fees to ensure that their vehicles operate without being subjected to the mandatory PSV audits by the law enforcers.

Those who pay up are allowed to break traffic rules such as overloading, speeding, obstructing etal, as police officers look the other way.

Needlessly, the PSV vehicles end up causing accidents, killing and maiming hundreds of the people.

We are not in anyway issuing a blanket condemnation on traffic police officers. We take cognisance of the fact that out there, some very hard working police officers exist, who have no business engaging in corruption.

These few have however been tainted by their colleagues, who have little regard to ethics.

Their key motivation is to reap where they have not sowed, and with little regard for consequences.

It is important to mention that there has been positive movement towards professionalizing the police force, a credit that Major General Hussein Ali rightfully claims.

Kenyans are however concerned that there is need for urgent review of the traffic act.

Infact, most roads users have time and again appealed to the Transport Licencing Board (TLB) to review the traffic act to make it possible for traffic offenders to pay instant fines.

Most motorists feel that the traffic act as it stands today breeds corruption.

They are annoyed that traffic police officers in Nairobi and other major towns moves around with breakdowns, ready to tow away cars that are double packed, obstructing or packed on corridors.

Allegations galore that most of these breakdowns are owned by Police officers.

Once a car is towed, the breakdown owners issue an invoice of Sh 3,000 to the motorist, through the arresting officer.

By the time a motorist realizes that his car has been towed from say town to Nairobi area, it is already five o’clock.

Since he has to get his car back, he rushes to Nairobi area traffic headquarters, pays up the towing charges and is given a cash bail of Sh 2000.

Most motorists prefer not to ask for a refund, ending up trading his cash bail for a non appearance in court.

While we cannot blame the traffic police officers for doing their job, it is imperative that this vice ends.

TLB should urgently introduce instant fines to curb corruption and increase government revenue.

Which brings us to the legality of the traffic police department.

My police friends have informed me that under the police act, there is no provision for a traffic police unit.

Basically, all police officers can undertake traffic duties under the supervision of their superiors, and in accordance wit the Force Standing Orders (FSO).

The FSO acts as the police internal Bible and dictates how the day to day chores are to be administered.

It also gives guidelines on promotions, demotions, general discipline and transfer mode.

This doctrine by the police, I’m told has no provision for traffic police department.

Neither does it have a provision for the Tourism Police Unit and its terrorism counterparts, two of the latest scions of the ever evolving Kenya Police.

Time is now for the captain of the ship to investigate and take action on these grave allegations.


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