NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 6 – The National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) Chairman Lee Kinyanjui has until Friday to respond to an application filed by UmoInner Sacco in the High Court seeking the release of its vehicles.
Justice George Odunga gave the order after the Sacco’s lawyer Kennedy Arum argued that it was unfair for all 150 vehicles on the fleet to be impounded when only one was involved in the October 30 train crash and not all of them were found defective.
The Sacco moved to court on Monday under an urgent application in response to the directive given by the Transport Cabinet Secretary Engineer Michael Kamau on Friday that their vehicles be impounded.
“I don’t care whether there are a million vehicles or whether they are two or three, those vehicles should not move on the roads. The same way we did with Eldoret Express, the same way we did with City to City. You cause an accident that causes death we suspend your licence, you go for further inspection,” Kamau had directed.
Kamau gave the directive following the accident that left 12 people dead and dozens others injured after an UmoInner bus driver drove straight into the path of an oncoming train.
At the time Kinyanjui said the decision to suspend UmoInner’s licence was reached as the accident was the culmination of numerous complaints the NTSA had received regarding the Sacco’s fleet.
“We’ve received all sorts of complaints including some of armed robberies that occur on those buses,” he said.
On Monday the Matatu Welfare Association supported Kamau’s decision to suspend UmoInner’s operating licence terming it a necessary step in the bid to restore sanity on Kenyan roads.
“We have been experiencing various road accidents in the country which is a very sad trend. The Sacco management and companies should start educating their crew to make sure they are competent,” the Association Chairman Dickson Mbugua said.
The driver of the ill-fated UmoInner is already facing 40 counts of causing death by driving, charges for reckless driving and blocking a railway line.
A day following the accident, the court ordered that he remanded for an additional seven days to allow the police to complete their investigations.