20 December 2012

Kenya: State Seeks Public's View for Scrap Metal Bill

This is a licenced scrap metal dealer at Nyayo Market Ngara who had on issues with us photographing her store to prove they had nothing hide unlike their counterparts along Kwale road photo/KARUGA WA NJUGUNA

Interested groups and individuals 10 days to submit their input in the The Scrap Metal Bill 2012 before it is taken to Parliament.

The bill is aimed at controlling and regulating trade in scrap metals, licensing of dealers and handling of the scrap metal.

During his budget presentation in June, Finance Minister Njeru Githae referred to the dealers as economic criminals who should be behind bars for encouraging vandalism of infrastructure.

"Scrap metal dealers who buy stolen and vandalized cables, wires, rail guards, signage and transformers, among others, are economic criminals who deserve to live in jails," he said.

The bill seeks to create a post of Scrap Metals Inspector with sweeping powers to arrest and detain with or without warrant and prosecute any person deemed to have contravened the new laws regulating the trade.

The inspector will be an appointee of the cabinet secretary (minister in new constitution) to hold office for a period to be determined by the appointing authority.

Among other powers, the inspector can confiscate suspect scrap metal without court warrants or authority from any other office.

"Nothing in this section shall be construed as requiring a person to answer any question or give any information if to do so might incriminate him," the bill states.

The bill also proposes to create The Scrap Metal Council under the ministry responsible for industrialisation in the new government set up. Members of the council will be drawn from the police, Kenya Association of Manufacturers and metal cottage industry alongside ministry representatives.

The Council will be charged with the responsibility of vetting applications for scrap metal business and advisory roles to the cabinet secretary.

If the law is passed as proposed, scrap meat dealers will be required to keep detailed records of each variety and weight of scrap metal, together with the identity and telephone numbers of the person or company they acquired them.

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