Road Safety Association of Kenya has sued the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) board over speedy and unprocedural return of Mr George Njao, the director-general as the director of the authority.
Mr. Njao was last month sent packing after the served him with a 30 days’ compulsory leave of 30 days and appointed Cosmas Ngeso as the acting DG. Njau however sneaked back to office days later.
According to the suit filed by the association in May 8 seeking to bar the agency’s boss from staying in office, Njao with impunity, disregarded the board’s letter and forcefully returned to office.
Kenya Insights has established that the embattled NTSA boss’s three-year contract with the body had lapsed in October 2022, he had however sought for a court to block the board from advertising the position as he sought to extend stay in office. His stay in office has been marred with allegations of financial irregularities including tender fraud.
The NTSA Act says: “The director-general shall be appointed for a term of three years and shall be eligible for reappointment for one further term.”
“Mr Njao’s tenure has been marred by extreme incompetence, which compelled lobby groups to institute legal proceedings to compel the authority to do its work,” said Mr Were in his affidavit.
“Mr Njao has further been clogged with selfish interests during his tenure, which caused him to commandeer an award of the integration process of speed governors to the authority’s servers to a company with vested interests among its peers in the speed limiters business, which has enabled the said company to eliminate its competitors from the business,” he added.
He further noted: “Mr Njao has overseen the introduction of digitisation of inspection stickers in an irregular manner with an aim of evading enforcement of inspection by the traffic police. Introduction of digitised inspection stickers without causing them to be displayed on the vehicles’ windscreens only facilitates uninspected vehicles to fly under the traffic police radars.”
In January this year, the High Court ordered the NTSA board to recruit a new Director General and not to extend the term Njao pending determination of a petition.
Petitioner Edwin Were had moved to court to block the planned renewal of Njao’s term which expired in October. He was appointed for a term of three years back in 2019.
Were said Njao had applied to have his contract extended for a further three years and thus sought to have NTSA and Transport Cabinet Secretary Kipchumba Murkomen blocked from accepting his application for term extension.
In orders issued on January 5, Employment and Labour Relations Court judge Byram Ongaya granted the prayers sought and directed NTSA board to proceed with the recruitment of a new director general pending further orders on January 19.
“The respondent (NTSA board) is at liberty to recruit a qualified person to fill the accruing vacancy in strict compliance with Chapter Six of the Constitution of Kenya on integrity and leadership,” Justice Ongaya said.
He certified the petition urgent.
The NTSA board is listed as the first respondent, while the Transport CS is the second respondent. Njao is listed as an interested party.
The petitioner had claimed Njao has not delivered during his three-year tenure as director general and that there was deliberate mismanagement and delinquency that occasioned the deaths of thousands of Kenyans through road carnage, which could have been avoided if he offered proper leadership.
More than 4,000 people lost their lives as a result of road crashes in the first 11 months of 2022, with NTSA data showing 19,285 victims were involved in road accidents between January and November 30, 2022.
Fatalities stood at 4,248, while some 8,756 victims sustained serious injuries. Another 6,281 victims were slightly injured.
The authority said road accidents cause losses of more than Sh310billion annually.
“Njao’s tenure has also been marred with extreme incompetence, which compelled lobbyists to institute legal proceedings to compel the authority to do its work,” Were said in his affidavit.
He accused the NTSA director general of deliberately refusing to set up the servers for monitoring speed governors as required by the standard till a petition was filed in court to compel him to do his job.
The petitioner also alleges that Njao has been clogged with selfish interests, which caused him to commandeer an award of the integration process of speed governors to the authority servers to a company with vested interests along with its peers in the speed limiters business
He said the reappointment of the NTSA boss is unsustainable in a country that professes the rule of law, constitutionalism and good governance as some of its pillars of values and principles.
“Another chance for him as director-general of the authority would only aggravate the already sorry state of its performance and functionality he has already destroyed, deliberately diminished and driven the authority from its noble objectives and functions which it was established for,” he said.
Were further claims that Njao has failed to put up mechanisms to ensure the authority inspection reports are properly done and implemented and he has turned the authority into a one-man affair by failing to appoint a director of road safety as provided for in the NTSA.
He claims it was during the director general’s tenure that the country saw written-off motor vehicles passing inspection and recommended for road use, despite being unroadworthy.
Were also said it’s during Njao’s term that the agency issued driving licences to untrained individuals and fake number plates.