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Kosgey trial over car imports begins

NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 2 – Former Industrialisation Minister Henry Kosgey did not follow the law when he granted exemptions for car imports that are beyond the eight-year limit.

The chairman of the National Standards Council Karanja Thiong\’o told the anti-corruption court that Mr Kosgey failed to seek the advice of the board as required by law.

He said the minister could only have granted such a waiver under the advice of the standards council and after being satisfied that it was in the public interest.  Legal notice No. 69 issued on May 18, 2007 bars importation of vehicles that are more than eight years old.

On learning of the waiver, he said he wrote to Mr Kosgey asking him to conform to the law, but never got a reply.

"I resolved to put the record straight by writing to the minister because I felt the law needed to be applied,\’\’ he told magistrate Elijah Obaga.

The witnesses further told the court that the Kenya Revenue Authority Commissioner General had complained about exemptions of motor vehicles in July last year.

The vehicles, some of which are left-hand drive were imported into the country by various traders.

Dr Thiong\’o told the court that the role of the council was to guide the Kenya Bureau of Standards to ensure quality standards were met and maintained.

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Mr Kosgey has denied using his office to improperly confer benefits to several traders by exempting motor vehicles that exceed the eight-year limit without the advice of National Standard Council.

The hearing will resume on Thursday morning.

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