Truckers fight Sh700 Mombasa parking fee

    The High Court has certified as urgent a case in which the Road Hauliers Association of Kenya (RHAK) seeks to challenge last week’s decision by Mombasa County to increase parking fees for commercial vehicles to Sh700 from the previous Sh600. The county appointed the Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) as the collection agent of parking fees within the port.

    RHAK is seeking leave of the court to file an application to have the decision by the county government being implemented by the KPA set aside and quashed.

    Justice Olga Sewe, who certified the case urgent, directed the lobby to serve KPA with case documents immediately for further directions on Wednesday.

    The decision by the county in a notice via a communication through the KPA managing director designates the KPA as a levy collecting agent on behalf of the devolved unit.

    RHAK is also seeking permission from the court to apply for an order to compel the respondents to rescind their decision in a way that parking fees and fines have been previously collected and provide books of accounts for the irregular collections (of parking fees) and subsequent refunds.

    In its application at the High Court in Mombasa seeking a review of the decision, RHAK says the notice whose implementation commenced on May 15 was made without the input, participation and consultation with the association and members of the public.

    “The said notice purports to increase the daily parking levies from Sh600 to Sh700 without due process, public participation and justification in contravention of the principles of public finance.”

    RHAK says that the implementation of the notice is oppressive and in contravention of what they legitimately expected, to continue paying the levy and penalties as they have been paying throughout the year or adequate notice to enable them to prepare and explain to their customers.

    “The nature of the business is one that is based on various commitments, timelines and legally binding agreements that the respondents failed to appreciate when they commenced the implementation of the oppressive notice,” part of the suit documents state.

    According to RHAK, an increase in parking fees, levies and penalties has a direct effect on their source of livelihood.

    The association argues that the county government and KPA have erected tents at entries of all KPA facilities and have been clamping its members’ motor vehicles and unlawfully levying a parking fee of Sh700 and a fine of Sh600 per motor vehicle.

    RHAK says that in the event the orders are not granted, insistence on enforcement of the respondents’ decision will perpetuate an illegality and exacerbate confusion, embarrassment, losses and prejudice upon them (members) and other users and owners of the trucks within the port.

    In his affidavit, a member of the association Mr Dennis Ombok says that the association and all truck drivers and owners who conduct their trade in transportation of goods to and from the port of Mombasa were not consulted over the issue.

    “Our legitimate expectation was that we would continue paying parking fees and penalties as we have been paying and in line with the Mombasa County Finance Act 2023,” says Mr Ombok.

    The applicants also want permission of the court to apply for an order to prohibit the respondents from increasing parking fees payable and changing the mode of collection as contained in the notice.

    RHAK wants the permission granted by the court to apply for the orders to operate as a stay (suspension) of the respondent’s decision.

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