Judge bars police from removing ad screens in matatus
Posted Wednesday, July 18 2012 at 20:16
A judge on Wednesday temporarily restrained the police commissioner from removing LCD screens in public service vehicles installed by a digital advertising firm.
Judge Weldon Korir of the Constitutional Court allowed Roma Agency Limited to commence judicial review proceedings against police commissioner and the attorney-general seeking compensation for loss and damages after the advertising screens were removed from more than 30 public service vehicles.
The firm moved to court after traffic police launched a crackdown on vehicles allegedly fitted with the screens and detained them and their crews at various police stations in Nairobi.
Police claimed that the company was carrying out unlawful business by installing the screens and ordered them to either remove them or charges would be preferred against vehicle owners for allegedly contravening traffic rules.
Thereafter, traffic police officers started the crackdown and arrested Jackson Waithaka and Joseph Mwaura, only releasing them after they paid a police bond of Sh5,000 each.
The two were later charged in court.
Roma Agency argued in court that as a consequence of the police action, its advertising business had been brought to a halt besides facing a legal action from its clients.
The company’s managing director, Richard Kiundi, said the firm was incurring losses of Sh300,000 daily. He claims the order to pull down the screens was issued by the traffic police commandant.
Mr Kiundi further argued that through Gazette Notice No.15582 of October 15, 2010, the Local Government minister allowed the business of digital transit advertising in public service vehicles through LCD electronic devices.
“By a certificate of incorporation given on September 2, 2004 and through a memorandum and articles of association, Roma, was incorporated to carry out the businesses of communication, advertising and television services amongst other activities,” says Mr Kiundi in a sworn affidavit.
He also told the court that the company was issued with a permit by the City Council of Nairobi on January 30, 2012, to carry out the business of media sales.
The company installed the screens in more than 30 motor vehicles in Nairobi and was spreading its business to all the counties.
To ensure the advertising business was carried out professionally, the company claims it engaged the services of Ipsos Synovate to routinely inspect and give feed back on the content and quality of the material advertised.