Truck drivers are fighting Sh700 Mombasa parking fee

The High Court has declared as urgent a case in which the Road Hauliers Association of Kenya (RHAK) seeks to challenge Mombasa County’s decision last week to increase parking fees for commercial vehicles from the previous Sh600 to Sh700. The province has appointed the Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) as the collection agency for parking fees at the port.

RHAK requests permission from the court to file an application to set aside and quash the provincial government’s decision, which is being implemented by the KPA.

Judge Olga Sewe, who declared the matter urgent, ordered the lobby to immediately provide the KPA with case documents on Wednesday for further directions.

The decision of the province in a notice through a communication through the director of the KPA designates the KPA as levy collection agent on behalf of the transferred unit.

RHAK also requests permission from the court to apply for an order compelling defendants to revoke their decision in such a way that parking fees and fines have previously been collected and to provide invoices for the irregular collections (of parking fees) and subsequent refunds. .

In its petition to the High Court in Mombasa for review of the decision, RHAK said the notification whose implementation began on May 15 was made without input, participation and consultation with the association and the public.

“The said notice seeks to increase daily parking charges from Sh600 to Sh700 without due process, public participation and justification, contrary to the principles of public finance.”

RHAK says the implementation of the notice is oppressive and contrary to what they legitimately expected, which is to continue paying the levy and fines as they have been paying throughout the year, or adequate notice to enable them to prepare and explain to their customers.

“The nature of the business is based on various commitments, timelines and legally binding agreements that respondents did not appreciate when they began implementing the suppressive notice,” reads part of the charging documents.

According to RHAK, an increase in parking rates, levies and fines has a direct effect on their source of livelihood.

The association alleges that the provincial government and the KPA set up tents at the entrances of all KPA facilities and secured the motor vehicles of its members and unlawfully levied a parking fee of Sh700 and a fine of Sh600 per motor vehicle.

RHAK says that in the event that the orders are not granted, insisting on upholding the respondents’ decision will perpetuate the illegality and increase confusion, embarrassment, losses and prejudice to them (members) and other users and owners of the trucks in the port will worsen.

In his affidavit, a member of the association, Mr Dennis Ombok, said the association and all truck drivers and owners plying their trade in the field of freight transport to and from the Port of Mombasa were not consulted on the issue.

“Our legitimate expectation was that we would continue to pay parking fees and fines as we have done and in accordance with the Mombasa County Finance Act 2023,” Mr Ombok said.

Applicants also seek permission from the court to request an order prohibiting defendants from increasing the parking fees due and changing the method of collection, as contained in the notice.

RHAK wants the permission granted by the court to apply for the orders to apply as a stay (suspension) of the defendant’s decision.