, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 16- The National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) has suspended the license of a sacco whose matatu was involved in an accident that killed nine people in Mai Mahiu on Friday night.
NTSA Director General Francis Meja said Transline sacco did not have a license to operate at night, leading to the accident that claimed lives of nine people when it burst into flames after colliding with a stationary lorry.
“The matatu was not licensed for night service, and clearly at 11.45pm was way past the time they were required to operate. And even further, we have established that this vehicle, from our database does not have a license at all,” Meja told a media briefing on Saturday.
He said the matatu owner will be arrested and charged.
The vehicle was heading to Nairobi from Kisii where most of the sacco’s vehicles operate, when the accident occurred. Witnesses said the vehicle caught fire which was accelerated by paint carried by a passenger on board.
Police were on Saturday looking for the matatu driver who is reported to have fled the scene after the accident.
NTSA has warned that it will not hesitate to take punitive measures on any sacco or company that flouts the regulations which will include suspending all their vehicles.
Seven other people were killed in a separate accident that occurred near the Salgaa black spot on the Nakuru-Eldoret highway on Saturday morning.
The seven members of the same family—including three children—were headed to Kitale from Nyeri where they had gone to attend a funeral when their vehicle collided with a lorry.
The deceased were in a saloon car which tried to overtaken another lorry, leading to the collision. No one survived in the matatu.
“Our initial investigations indicate that these people were coming from a funeral in Nyeri, and they must have started their journey from Kitale, all the way to Nyeri and they were now going back. So, the issue of fatigue cannot be ruled out,” Meja said.
The authority has noted that these fatal accidents are happening in the wee hours of the night raising concerns on the level of competence of drivers at night.