Court declines to suspend Mombasa County decision on port parking fees


Trucks stuck in a traffic jam along the Nairobi-Mombasa highway

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

The High Court has declined to issue an order temporarily suspending a decision by the county government of Mombasa to make Kenya Ports Authority its parking fee collection agent within the port.

Justice Olga Sewe ruled that it is in the interest of justice for the case to be heard, hence the judge's decision to decline the issuance of the order for an application by an association of drivers and owners of trucks that transport goods to and from the port of Mombasa.

Road Hauliers Association of Kenya (RHAK) is seeking leave of the court (permission) to apply before it (court) to have the decision by the county government implemented by KPA set aside and quashed.

Through lawyer Derrick Odhiambo, the association had sought the order to suspend the decision, arguing that injustices were being meted against the applicants.

However, the county government and KPA, through their lawyers, opposed the issuance of the temporary orders.

Justice Sewe directed the parties to file their responses and fixed the case for ruling on May 30.

RHAK is also seeking permission from the court to apply for an order to compel the respondents to rescind their decision. They want the county to revert to the earlier system of collecting parking fees and fines and provide books of accounts for the irregular collections (of parking fees) and subsequent refunds.

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

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

Adequate notice

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 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 affects their source of livelihood.

The association argues that the county government and KPA have erected tents at entries of all KPA facilities, 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 illegality and exacerbate confusion, embarrassment, losses and prejudice upon them (members) and other users and owners of the trucks within the port.

The applicants also want permission from 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.