Importation rules for old cars remain

Tuesday, March 29th, 2022 07:10 | By
Imported cars at the port. Photo/Courtesy

Car Importers Association of Kenya (CIAK) have been dealt a blow in their quest to have government agencies adopt a standard measure on the age of imported vehicles.

The lobby which had filed a case challenging the Kenya Revenue Authority’s (KRA) method of computing the eight-year-old limit of motor vehicles importation lost the case after the High Court stated that the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) did not breach any constitutional rights of CIAK.

The association had sought an order requiring KRA, Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) and the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) to adopt a constant standard of determining the age as per the declaration they sought from the Court.

Day of manufacturer

Among the issues the importers sought the High Court to clarify was a declaration that computation of time for purposes of determining the age of a motor vehicle is considered from the first day off January of the year of manufacture, or the first month of registration.

The car importers said perceived misinterpretation between KRA and KEBS amounted to an infringement of its constitutional rights and those of its members and was a breach of the obligation placed on KRA and KEBS by the people of Kenya.

In dismissing the petition, the High Court in Mombasa held that statutory words override expectations, which therefore means that a decision-maker cannot act against clear provisions of a statute just to meet a person’s expectation.

In such a case, the decision would be outrightly illegal and a violation of the principle of rule of law.

The order sought by the association would require an amendment of the statutes which is the mandate of Parliament.

The court held that; “There is no basis for the reading-in words into the statute as urged by the Petitioner because it would depart from the rest of the statutory scheme and require a drastic word-changing construction of the legislation. In the light of these principles and the evident presence of clear enabling statutory provisions the proposed declaratory order will not reflect the intendment of Parliament.”

The government has been seeking to further reduce the age limit to five years to promote local assembling and address emission concerns blamed on combustion in old cars.

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