Counties

Nakuru wins fees case against matatus

Nakuru matatus

Matatus waiting for passengers at Ziwani stage in Nakuru. FILE PHOTO | NMG

The Nakuru County government has got a reprieve after the High Court lifted orders stopping collection of revenue from matatus operating town service.

In her ruling, Justice Teresia Matheka set aside the orders she had issued earlier on January 16 suspending collection of Sh2,000 monthly for seasonal tickets from each of the 8,600 public service vehicles pending the hearing and determination of a case filed by the operators.

The Central Rift PSV Transporters Cooperative Society Limited filed the suit on December 15, 2020, seeking to stop the levy collection after they were relocated out of the central business district.

But Justice Matheka, in her ruling, noted that the court had not been informed of an existing similar suit in another court by the time she was issuing the orders.

“It has come to my attention, through a communication by the deputy registrar, that there is a similar matter before Justice Joel Ngugi pending judgement. This fact was not disclosed to me, otherwise, I would not have issued the orders,” noted Justice Matheka.

Monthly revenue

Following the orders, the county risked losing about Sh17 million monthly in revenue.

The judge referred the matter to Justice Ngugi before whom a similar case has been placed.

In their application, the matatu operators have argued that their relocation from Nakuru CBD has caused them a loss of earnings, yet the county is still demanding the seasonal ticket fees from them.

Through their lawyer, David Mongeri, the operators termed it unconstitutional and an unfair act that infringes on the right to fair administrative actions, saying the new grounds are unsafe and lack proper sanitation.

In another court, the County Government of Nakuru was given the green light to proceed with the construction of a new modern stage within Nakuru town after orders issued suspending the work were lifted.

Resident Magistrate Benjamin Limo, in his ruling, also said there exists a similar application before the High Court seeking similar orders.

He further noted that the county has convinced the court that the orders by the court have made it difficult for it to complete the construction of the new stages which are meant to be used by the matatu operators.

“The status quo obtained before November 11 is hereby reinstated to allow the plaintiff's application proceed for inter-partes hearing,” ruled Mr Limo.

The case was filed by the Nakuru county youth chairman Daniel Kimani who expressed his disagreement with the court.

Mr Kimani said he will be moving to the High Court to challenge the ruling.