KOSGEY ‘FAILED TO SEEK ADVICE’
Mildred Ngesa, Daily Nation, 3rd March 2011
The former Industrialization minister’s decision to allow the importation of over-age vehicles has been termed unprocedural and illegal.
Mr. Henry Kosgey is said to have allowed the imports without consulting the National Standards Council (NSC).
According to NSC chairman Karanja Thiong’o, the minister ought to have sought the advice of the board before authorizing the imports.
Dr. Thiong’o was testifying against Mr. Kosgey on Wednesday in a case where the former minister is facing 12 counts of abuse of office.
NSC, a board within the Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS), is mandated to guide the quality controller in ensuring quality standards are set and maintained throughout the year.
According to the KEBS import orders for road vehicles that was published in 2005, “all vehicles from the age limit of eight years shall not be imported”.
But clause eight of the same orders gives exemptions and states: “ The minister may on the advice of the National Standards Council exempt any imports from the provisions of the orders where the minister is satisfied that it is in the national interest to do so.”
Dr. Thiong’o told the court that he was concerned that the law was misunderstood. “I came to a conclusion that the minister was not being advised accordingly,” he told the court.
Dr. Thiong’o said he then wrote to the former minister on July 28, 2010, but his letter was not responded to. In the letter, he said, he insisted on the fact that the minister should consult the NSC before allowing the importations.
The court was also told that the whistle may have been blown by then acting director of KEBS, Mr. Joel Kioko.
“In July 2010, Mr. Kioko had reported that there was a problem in the exemption of over-age motor vehicles,” the witness said.
The Commissioner-General of the Kenya Revenue Authority is also said to have complained about the exemptions of the motor vehicles and there was a worry that too many of them were being imported.
What followed was an exchange of letters between Industrialization permanent secretary Karanja Kibicho and Mr. Kosgey.
In the letter Dr. Kibicho wrote to the minister on July 22, he referred to the exemptions of left-hand-drive and over age vehicles.
The former minister had then written to the PS saying the power to exempt was bestowed in his (the minister’s) office.
“Any challenge on this authority is illegal and should be treated as null and void,” the minister said.
Mr. Kosgey is accused of allowing the exemptions between November 2009 and May 2010.
Reports about the cars that did not meet KEBS specifications emerged last October, with the Kenya Revenue Authority refusing to release them.
On Wednesday, the defense, led by lawyer Julius Kemboi, argued that the letter by Dr. Thiong’o was way after the alleged offences had been committed so the witness could not purport that his sentiments were ignored.
Posted on Friday, March 04, 2011