Interior CS Matiang’i puts agency on notice over fake logbooks

Thursday, December 23rd, 2021 06:00 | By
Police, NTSA officers carry out vehicles inspection at Vincentian area of Witeithie along Thika Superhighway recently. Photo/PD/File

Several suspects have been arrested in connection with the production of fake vehicle log books at the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA).

A number of vehicles have also been confiscated by detectives from the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) following the crackdown.

Among those arrested yesterday are Timothy Muigai Mwangi, Benard Mburu and Peter Nyaga who were found with Toyota Landcruiser and Toyota Harrier, whose registration papers are suspected to be fraudulent.

Authorities yesterday said changes were expected at the NTSA as part of efforts to address loopholes enabling an ongoing scam at the agency. 

On Tuesday night, Interior Cabinet Secretary (CS) Fred Matiang’i made an impromptu tour of the agency’s offices and promised to take stern action.

New trend

The CS who was accompanied by top ministry officials read the Riot Act and directed them to put their house in order immediately. 

The CS held an hour long meeting with the board members and officials. He said an audit of all staff operations is ongoing and would be out soon. 

The scandal comes even after the government made changes at the agency early this year to enhance service delivery. 

The CS said preliminary investigations had revealed that some senior NTSA officials could be part of the scam.

Detectives visited the NTSA offices and are focusing on among others, a new trend at the authority where a vehicle, for instance, is taken away from the owner for defaulting on a loan and sold to a new buyer.

But for this to happen, the vehicle owner must inform the NTSA, provide an original logbook, copy of ID, an affidavit and a Kenya Revenue Authority PIN, the one of the new owner and a police tape lift report.

Police say the scandals has been happening with the aid of insiders hence the new probe.

NTSA moved the registration process of vehicles online in 2017, in what was seen as part of a solution to many complaints that emerged over fraud in the sector.

The Transport Integrated Management System (Tims) enables applicants to register and transfer vehicles easily. 

It however seems to be prone to breakdowns which police believe give room to the fraud.

Investigations show this has continued to give room for production of cloned number plates, illegally registering vehicles whose tax has not been paid and illegal transfer of vehicles and production of fake logbooks.

Banks have raised concern with the authorities over the fraud, prompting the DCI to station detectives at NTSA.

The latest move came after over 450 genuine motor vehicle logbooks were recovered at a cyber cafe in Nairobi on December 17.

“Detectives acting on information busted two men busy at work in a cyber cafe in Ngara, along Desai road,” officials at the Directorate of Criminal Investigations said.

This is the latest incident to be unraveled and involving the agency officials.

In 2019, some top managers at the authority were arrested following investigations on how a car that had been used in a terror incident at the Dusit d2 complex had a registration of another car.

Corrupt officials

Last year, a number of complaints were lodged by motorists after they realised their vehicles had been transferred without their knowledge. Some were used in crimes.

This prompted some structural changes within the authority. The board was disbanded and a new one set up.

DCI said investigations show the syndicate was in cahoots with corrupt officials from NTSA, who transfer ownership of the cars illegally. So far three vehicles linked to the scam have been detained. 

Police said that at the cyber, an application of a logbook only takes a few hours before it is delivered by an NTSA official.

“The mastermind of the syndicate working in cahoots with officials at the country’s motor vehicle registration body, also illegally develops affidavits and commissions them, before they are sent to contacts at NTSA for forced transfer of motor vehicles,” DCI said.

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