Nairobi: Kenya National Highways Authority (KeNHA) has announced a raft of measures aimed at curbing graft at Kenya’s weighbridges and ensuring adherence to axle load limit. In a statement issued yesterday by the authority, an oversight committee has been established to deal with rogue truckers who habitually overload. The Committee is composed of the Kenya Transport Association (KTA), Ministry of Transport, Shippers Associations, KPA, the Traffic Police, officers from the Department of Weights and Measures and the CID.
KeNHA said the move is aimed at encouraging compliance at all weighbridges in a better way to ensure full compliance to axle load as stipulated by the Traffic Act. At the same time, the authority will from next week start charging who overload axles. This is a departure from the past practice in which trucks were only checked on overloading.
"We will now check the weight of the axle, not the entire tonnage of the trucks as has been the case in the past", the statement issued by the Department of Axle Control says in part.
According to the Traffic Act, overloading is a criminal offence that attracts a jail term for offenders, together with huge fines. "We want to encourage voluntary compliance, but despite all the efforts by KeNHA and the Government, truckers have continued with their way ward ways," KeNHA says.
At the same time, the Authority has written to KACA requesting the agency to help it eradicate corruption. Some errant officials and the police have allegedly taken bribes, forcing the roads authority to demand their arrest and prosecution.
"We laud KACA for taking the initiative to deal with this vice. We want those who engage in graft on our roads locked up for a long time," KeNHA Director General Meshack Kidenda said when contacted on phone. "The authority is gravely concerned about these graft allegations and is treating them very seriously. Although isolated cases, we will deal with them firmly," the director general said.
He said KeNHA has started internal investigations with a view ending graft at all weighbridges. And to ensure that the matter does not recur, the authority has installed two weigh In bridges at the Mariakani Weighbridges. Many more will be put up.
KeNHA announced that a total of Sh110,236,300 has been collected from trucks that abuse axle loads since January this year. The fines have been paid at the 13 weighbridges countrywide. Majority of the fines were dispensed at Mariakani and Athi River, two of the weighbridges that are being operated by management companies.
In Athi River, a total of Sh14.7 million has been collected over the years, while in Mariakani, Sh31 million has been generated for the last six months.
Meanwhile, the expansion of Mombasa road meant to decongest the major highway and reduce accidents is to be completed this month. Kenha says work on the 33km single carriageway from Machakos turn-off road to Athi River and dual carriageway from Athi River to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) is almost complete.
Works on the project commenced in June 2006. The road is being constructed by SBI International from Switzerland. The road is part of the Northern Corridor Transport Improvement project which is being co-financed by the government of Kenya and the World Bank to the tune of Sh6.9 billion.