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Motorists pay Sh400 parking fee despite court order

Friday December 06 2019
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Cars parked along a street in the Nairobi CBD. Motorists are paying higher parking fees despite a court order suspension. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

By JAMES KAHONGEH
By HARRY MISIKO

tCity Hall continues to charge increased parking fees in breach of a High Court order that suspended them.

On Friday, private motorists reported being forced to pay Sh400 in the central business district (CBD) instead of Sh200.

High Court Judge James Makau on Wednesday stayed implementation of City Hall's fee increment until a petition by the Consumer Federation of Kenya (Cofek) is heard and determined.

On Thursday, the Mike Sonko administration complied with the order and reverted to the Sh200 fee for private cars.

But on Friday, the county disregarded the judge's order and demanded Sh400 from motorists.

Many, out of fear of being clamped and being forced to pay Sh2,000 fine, have chosen to part with Sh400.

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"NOT SERVED"

Contacted by the Nation, county director of parking Tom Tinega claimed they had yet to be served with the court order.

“We cannot implement an order we have not seen. We are ready to comply immediately it is served and we get instructions from our legal department,” he said.

He said the Sh200 fee window that temporarily opened on Thursday was because of ongoing system adjustments.

“In the new rates, we have zones. We had to revert to Sh200 to allow us to effect fees for the various parking zones in the city,” he said.

But his claims were denied and dismissed by Cofek lawyer Henry Kurauka, who said they served City Hall lawyer Harrison Kinyanjui moments after the court ruling.

“On Thursday, we served them again and we have evidence,” he said as he displayed a stamped copy, indicating “Received”.

Mr Kurauka said they were in the process of filing contempt charges against the Sonko administration for breaching the order.

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Cofek lawyer Henry Kurauka said they served City Hall lawyer Harrison Kinyanjui moments after the ruling. PHOTO | COURTESY

Cofek Secretary-General Stephen Mutoro said they had taken issue with the violation of the order and vowed to demand redress in the contempt case.

“We will demand refunds for motorists who have been forced to pay Sh400 or ask the court to award appropriate compensation,” he said.

Aggrieved Kenyans who were forced to dig deeper into their pockets took to social media to express their agony.

Mr Wycliffe Birundu said that raising parking fees from Sh200 to Sh400 does not make sense, noting that Nairobi motorists do not get value for their money.

Mr Joshua Njenga said that increasing parking fees would not solve Nairobi’s traffic problems.

'NO PUBLIC PARTICIPATION'

‘‘We need an efficient and secure public transport system,’’ Njenga argued.

‘‘Most people who drive to work would gladly leave their cars at home.’’

The city’s parking department had issued a notice on Monday, stating that motorists would pay Sh400 to park their vehicles in the CBD starting Wednesday this week.

Those parking in the city’s periphery, including Westlands, Ngara and Lang’ata districts, would pay Sh200 while Sh100 would be charged in other neighbourhoods and shopping areas. 

But in their case, Cofek argued that the county did not carry out proper public participation as required by law, and that increasing parking fees was, therefore, “unconstitutional”.

The case will be heard on January 21, 2020.

NOTICE

Cofek sued the Mike Sonko-led county government following its move to raise parking fees for private and public service vehicles effective December 4, 2019.

Mr Kurauka argued that the public was not given sufficient notice as required under the law, adding that the new levies would cause city residents to suffer the ripple effects of higher fees.

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