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Night travel ban still exists: NTSA

15 May 2014, 18:59

Nairobi - The ban on night travel still exists despite a court order stating otherwise, the National Transport Safety Authority NTSA has said.

The rejoinder came just a few hours after a High Court judge George Odunga ruled that the ban had been lifted, saying that the temporary stay of the ban which was 50 days had expired.

But NTSA boss Lee Kinyanjui insisted that there would be no night travel for PSV operators unless they followed strict guidelines put forward by the government.

"The ban exists and will only be lifted for those PSV operators that comply with the regulations, he said.

The stance followed a plea in court by the NTSA that Odunga cease handling cases dealing with the matter.

NTSA Tuesday demanded Odunga disqualify himself from hearing the case challenging new transport regulations since he already handled a related case that touched on the alleged night travel ban.

NTSA was reacting to the Transport Cabinet Secretary’s admission over the irregularly passed transport regulations and filed an application seeking judge Odunga to excuse himself with the case.

NTSA said it had no integrity allegations with judge Odunga but only felt that another judge should handle the matter.

“If this matter must be heard then let it go to another judge, we are not questioning your integrity, the only reason is that you have heard this matter before, ruled on it, issued orders based on the regulations, just allow this to be heard by someone else,” said Mr Agwara representing NTSA.

However, in court documents showing cause why the new transport regulations were passed irregularly.

Transport Cabinet Secretary admitted to that illegality and explained the circumstances that led to that situation.

In the document presented by State lawyer Emmanuel Bitta, Eng Kamau agrees that the new regulations on transport were passed without being tabled before parliament and did not notify the court through his Principal Secretary during the hearing of a case filed by bus owners seeking the suspension of night travel ban.

Eng Kamau however said that while drafting the said regulations which were published on a

Gazette notice as 23 of 2014 he was in consultation with the office of the Attorney General who gave him an approval in a bid to ensure public safety.

He said he therefore had the right powers to initiate the same although it was purely an unintentional omission that Mr Bitta who was representing him was not aware of the published rules in the Kenya gazette.

“I was constrained to promulgate Legal Notice 23 of 2014 to ensure that there were subsisting regulations that would ensure public safety was safeguarded, my office consulted with the drafting department in the office of the AG who approved the same,” he said.

“I was informed by the Principal Secretary that the said regulations may not have been submitted to parliament within the time prescribed and the outcome of the same would be null and void,” he added.

However he insisted that the said notices were later placed before parliament for approval.

He denied being aware that the case filed by bus owners on night travel regulations had been finalized despite his actions.

“I was not aware that this Court had heard the case to conclusion and was in the process of writing it’s ruling when the notice on the regulations was published; I was informed that this case raised concern over the said regulations on whether the same had been tabled before Parliament within the period required,” he said in court documents.

And this means that an order granted by Justice Odunga on April 14 lifting the alleged night travel ban is still in force hence public service operators can continue with their businesses as before.

Justice Odunga said he would rule on whether to disqualify himself or not from handling the case on June 9.

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