A Nairobi court yesterday suspended the new parking levy introduced by City Hall until a case filed by the Consumer Federation of Kenya (Cofek) is determined. High Court Judge James Makau ruled that the petition filed by Henry Kurauka on behalf of Cofek has established an arguable case. “I am satisfied that the parking fee hike is temporarily stopped pending the hearing and determination of the application,” ruled Makau. In response, Nairobi City County argued that the court had no jurisdiction to hear and determine the petition.
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“No undertaking as to damages has been granted by Cofek in breach of the practice on the grant of injunctive reliefs,” said lawyer Harrison Kinyanjui. Cofek moved to court on Tuesday to challenge City Hall's decision to double parking fees. On Monday, Nairobi County issued a notice through which it raised parking fees from Sh200 to Sh400 effective yesterday.
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The notice also raised seasonal parking rates. Seasonal parking charges for 14-seater matatus were increased from Sh3,650 to Sh5,000, 32-seater from Sh5,250 to Sh8,000, and 51-seater vehicles (buses) from 7,500 to Sh10,000. The case will be heard on January 21, 2020.
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The ruling came even as the Federation of Public Transport Operators vowed that their members would not pay the new parking charges and rates for seasonal parking tickets. Chairman Simon Kimutai yesterday told off the Governor Mike Sonko-led administration, saying the decision to hike charges was not taken through public participation as required by law. “We are not ready to pay the new charges nor are we ready to pass the costs to commuters. We are already paying more than enough to the county government and we will not accept any new form of taxation,” said Kimutai. The federation faulted the county for failure to provide adequate infrastructure such as dedicated bus lanes, depots, lay-byes, bus stops, bus stations, free public toilets and roads.
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Edwin Mukabana, a federation official, decried the high cost of doing business due to the high cost of compliance, insurance fees, cost of getting allocated a slot to pick up and drop off passengers and high court fines. He said such issues need to be addressed before any new charges are levied.
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