The Kenya Bureau of Standards has directed that imported vehicles held at the port of Mombasa be released free of charge. Kebs managing director Eva Oduor said vehicles whose late arrival is genuine will be released.
The vehicles from Japan arrived in the country on January 10, 13 and 14 . The cars were bought by four vessels, which are Trinidad with 1455 units, Opal Ace with 535, Utopia Ace and Jinsei Maru.
The directive by Oduor quashes another one she issued in November last year indicating the inspection certificates had expired by December 31 last year.
"No one will pay double the inspection fee. I have directed that the vehicles be inspected, their arrival dates be known and then the owners should be allowed to pick them," said Oduor on the phone.
"We normally have late arrivals in January maybe because the ship got at the port late or some other delays but if it was inspected on time, we have no problem."
Oduor blamed the menace on the many late arrivals that are constantly every January. "If we don't inspect, overage vehicles will be allowed in the country which is against our eight year rule. Those found to be overage will have to await the decision of the committee," Oduor said.
The move by KRA sends a sigh of relief to the importers who had acrimoniously protested an initial directive that could see them lose Sh56 million for re-inspection.
A week ago, National chairman of car importers association of Kenya Peter Otieno said that vehicles inspected in November last year had their certificates valid for three months till February this year, but Kebs went ahead to direct that their expiry was due December 31st last year.
Importers were to pay Sh18100 per vehicle for 3000 vehicles as a double inspection fee according to the initial directive by Kebs. The amount was payable to vehicle inspection company, M/s Japan Export Vehicle Inspection Center Company Limited (JEVIC) based in Japan.
Jevic is among the three companies mandated by Kebs to do inspection for vehicles destined for Kenya from Japan, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, Singapore and South Africa. Other companies are M/s Auto Terminal Japan Ltd (ATJ) and M/s Quality Inspection Services Inc Japan (QISJ) all based in Japan.