Ban on old car imports stays, says Kebs
Posted Sunday, July 8 2012 at 16:16
The law prohibiting importation of motor vehicles that are more than eight years old is applicable under the Standards Act, the Kenya Bureau of Standards (Kebs) has said.
This follows claims by some importers that the law has not been declared by the National Standards Council in the Kenya Gazette, hence it cannot be enforced.
The importers, through their lawyer Kinyua Kamundi, told Mombasa Judge Francis Tuiyott that although the Standards Council at Kebs had power to declare the standards, the Minister for Industrialisation is required to declare when those standards become effective through a notice in the Kenya Gazette. However, the standards have not been gazetted under the code of practice for inspection of road vehicles (KS1515:2000).
Last year, importers obtained orders restraining the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) from destroying more than 400 vehicles for allegedly contravening the eight-year importation rule.
Justice Tuiyott granted the order after the importers challenged KRA’s decision issued through a gazette notice announcing its intention to crush the vehicles that were lying in various container freight stations.
The importers include Yuasa International Ltd, Homayoun Akhtar Choudhry, Paken Investments Ltd, Asghar Muhammad and Saied Imram.
The importers said that in intending to crush the vehicles, Kebs and KRA were relying on the standard code of practice for inspection of road vehicles, which is protected by copyright and cannot be copied, published or distributed without payment of royalty to the state corporation.
Mr Kamundi said Kebs had framed the KS1515:2000 but not gazetted it, hence it remained inapplicable. He added that the petitioners were, therefore, not in contravention of any law in importing the vehicles.
“All the respondent was required to do is publish a notice, since establishment of such standards can only be effective if published in a gazette notice,” he said.
Mr Kamundi, therefore, sought for remedies that would exempt his clients from customs warehouse rent, storage charges and damages.
But in response, Kebs through its lawyer A Ashitiva said the Standards Act was applicable and existent as declared by the National Standards Council.
He noted that the Act did not prescribe the format of publication or declaration, hence it is complete as it currently appears, adding that the allegations of threat to destroy the vehicles was malicious.
“This petition must fail because Kebs followed the law and laid-out criteria,” Mr Ashitiva said.
The judge will deliver a ruling on September 4.