STEALING FROM PUBLIC

City Hall, NMS faulted for fraudulent towing of vehicles in CBD

Complaints mount against rogue county officers taking advantage of motorists in the CBD

In Summary

• Nairobi City County Finance Act, 2019 states Sh1,000 to be charged on clamped vehicles.

•In September 2019, City Hall unveiled an automation payment system for motorists to pay parking violation penalties.

Ticketing officers clamp down a vehicle, whose owner had not paid for parking outside Simmers Restaurant on December 28 last year /COLLINS KWEYU
Ticketing officers clamp down a vehicle, whose owner had not paid for parking outside Simmers Restaurant on December 28 last year /COLLINS KWEYU

The county government and the Nairobi Metropolitan Service have been faulted for unprocedural towing practices of private vehicles.

The Nairobi County Assembly last week raised concerns over the increasing complaints against rogue county enforcement officers taking advantage of motorists in the Central Business District.

Both NMS and City Hall have been accused of setting up many private breakdowns and recovery units in the CBD, and stealing from motorists by overcharging them.

 

As highlighted by Nairobi Central Ward rep Muturi Ngegi, the recovery units and private breakdowns have been charging motorists Sh2,500, contrary to Sh1,000 as stated in the Nairobi City County Finance Act, 2019.

“The officers instead of clamping vehicles that have failed to pay for the daily parking, they put more effort in towing private vehicles and overcharge them. The breakdowns and recovery units go further and damage vehicles which increases additional and unnecessary costs for repair,” he explained.

Ngegi was speaking before the house on Thursday as he requested for a statement on the issue.

As a result, the County Assembly Transport and Public Works Committee have been tasked to seek answers from both City Hall and NMS as to why enforcement officers choose to tow private vehicles instead of taking them to county yards.

The legislators also want to know why the recovery units and breakdowns fail to compensate damages occur while the vehicles are being towed.

Both NMS and City Hall have also been tasked to reveal whether they have an agreement between themselves, and with the recovery entities and private towing squads.

 

In 2018, 2,000 clamps, automated tow trucks had been procured by City Hall and as well as a rapid response team formed to enforce compliance in areas with high default rate to stop the haemorrhage of parking revenue.

Last year in September, City Hall unveiled an electronic payment system for motorists to pay parking violation penalties.

Over 500 smartphones were issued to the parking attendants for the purpose of automation of paying parking violation penalties.

Motorists whose cars had been clamped would then dial *235# and follow prompts to make payments.

The smartphones were configured to receive a notification when a motorist pays, then the parking attendant would unclamp the car after the notification.

In addition, the legislators want to be enlightened if there are measures the two entities are considering to put in place in an attempt to restore orderliness in the manner private vehicles are towed.

“We also want the Transport and Public Works Committee to take to task both the county government and NMS on what measures they have put in place to ensure that enforcement officers adhere to the towing fees as prescribed in the Finance Act,” Ngegi said.

However with the new claims and payment system rolled out by NMS, it is unclear why enforcement officers are collecting clamping fee despite the automation.