NTSA says lenders left out riders in logbooks

Motorcycles belonging to boda boda operators parked outside Nyayo Stadium in Nairobi in July 2022.

Photo credit: File| Nation

What you need to know:

  • A list of 123 motorcycles tabled by the IRA showed 32 had active insurance policy cover, seven had cancelled policies, 51 had expired insurance and 29 had no records of having been insured.

Riders who bought motorcycles on credit are not registered as the owners, the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) says.

NTSA told the National Assembly Finance and Planning Committee that logbooks of 124 motorcycles purchased on a buy-now-pay-later arrangement are registered in the names of firms that advanced the bikes to the riders on loan.

The authority said the registration of the motorcycles is solely in the name of companies as opposed to jointly with the boda bodas who acquired them. “On asset financing arrangements, the process starts with the individual who approaches the financier.

Once they agree on terms of the loan, the registration of the asset will be done jointly in the name of the financiers and borrower,” Adan Millah, the deputy director for registration of motor vehicles, said.

“NTSA will then approve and issue a logbook in the name of the financier and the borrower.” He added that once the borrower completes repaying, the financier initiates the process of discharge and the logbook will be registered and issued bearing the names of the owner.

Mr Millah told the team chaired by Molo MP Kuria Kimani that the motorcycles that were stolen or repossessed by financiers are registered solely in the name of the lenders. “Our registration is purely online. There is no human interaction. The 124 of the 126 motorcycles that this committee sought details are registered in the name of companies and not jointly with the borrower,” Mr Millah said.

“These firms launch registration online and we don’t get to know if they are asset finance. Nearly 20,000 registrations and transfer of motorcycles are is done online every month. We have not segregated the data to know who owns them and whether they are co-owned.”

The NTSA said the buy-now-pay-later scheme in the motorcycle business is a new and foreign concept. The authority tabled data of the motorcycles that owners say were either stolen or confiscated by the companies after completing the repayment of loans.

The data shows that the logbooks of the motorcycles are in the names of Watu Credit, Watu Credit Nominees Ltd, Mogo Auto Ltd, JoyInc Ltd, 15 Minutes Ltd, Do More with Less Ltd, Sanlam General Agencies, Pentagon Agencies Ltd among others.

Insurance Regulatory Authority (IRA) Chief Executive Officer Godfrey Kiptum told the committee that the motor commercial policy provides for comprehensive coverage, which includes insurance against loss or damage, liability to third parties, emergency medical expenses and towing of disabled vehicles.

“The commercial insurance framework ensures that parties involved in financed motorcycle purchase are adequately protected,” Monicah Thirima, the Senior Manager of Consumer Protection, said.

A list of 123 motorcycles tabled by the IRA showed 32 had active insurance policy cover, seven had cancelled policies, 51 had expired insurance and 29 had no records of having been insured.

“If they are operating, they don’t have insurance cover. Insurance firms compensate the financiers who are expected to pay the owners of the assets after recovering what is due to them,” Ms Thurima said.

The committee is investigating a petition by Kigumo MP Joseph Munyoro following complaints of the loss and repossession of motorcycles by riders who had either one month to clear their loans or after two months of payment.

The lawmakers had summoned five companies that offer motorcycles to riders on credit. It had emerged that they charge up to Sh571,000 for one motorcycle. Last week, the committee heard tales of riders who had lost their motorbikes to theft or repossession.

One rider told the committee that his motorcycle was stolen after he had paid Sh178,000 to Watu Credit Ltd. He added that the company demanded a further Sh121,000 for the replacement of the stolen motorcycle and later said he had an outstanding balance of Sh178,000, bringing the total cost to Sh571,000.

The committee quizzed the managers of JoyInc Credit Ltd, Progressive Credit Ltd, and Tugende Credit over the missing or repossessed motorbikes.