Matatu owners say they lose Sh3bn yearly to traffic officers
Kimutai says drivers who do not give a bribe have their charges trumped up. ‘What is happening on our roads is not a case of willing-buyer, willing-seller’
The public transport sector loses more than Sh3 billion to corrupt traffic officers annually, matatu owners said yesterday.
Matatu Owners Association chairman Simon Kimutai said corrupt officers extort money from matatu crews.
He spoke during the MOA’s third National Delegates Council meeting and expo at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre.
“What is happening on our roads is not a case of willing-buyer, willing- seller, but extortion by police officers, it is no longer a bribe,” Kimutai said.
He denied that motorists willingly give bribes, saying they are threatened by the officers and are left with no choice but to part with money.
Kimutai said drivers who do not give a bribe face trumped-up charges, which will force them to part with more money if they are taken to court.
He said the delegated powers police have in the transport sector are often abused.
Kimutai said the many roadblocks on the roads do not add value, but are avenues for extortion.
But National Transport and Safety Authority Appeals Board chairman Dick Waweru accused the matatu owners of failing to report the alleged extortion to the right authorities.
“When you complain that police are extorting and yet none of you has ever reported this to any authority, how do you expect us to help you or even apprehend those rogue officers?” he asked.
Kimutai said police, who understand the law, should enlighten the drivers not to give bribes instead of threatening them using the same law.
He said they want some roadblocks removed. “Why do we have 10 road blocks from Nairobi to Nakuru, yet all they do is target the public service vehicles,” Kimutai said.