The National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) is on the spot after claims of infiltration of its systems by cartels.
In a recent exposé by BBC Africa Eye, undercover journalists brought to the fore the mess at NTSA that has contributed to the surge in accidents on Kenyan roads.
The film dubbed ‘Kenya’s Killer Roads’, shows just how easy it is to get a driving licence in Kenya without having to step into a driving class.
The documentary also highlights how NTSA insiders collude with rogue Public Service Operators (PSVs) to allow unroadworthy vehicles on the roads, endangering the lives of innocent Kenyans.
BBC’s secret cameras captured driving licence corruption at two renowned driving schools in the country, where Kenyans are assisted to get smart licences at a fee without having to take lessons or NTSA tests.
Posing as a taxi driver one of the investigators approached Rocky Driving School seeking a smart DL. The investigator had been briefed that an attendant only identified as Hassan could help them get a licence at a fee.
At the Rocky customer service desk, the investigator was told that it could take him at least three weeks to get the licence. After insisting that he was too busy to attend classes, Hassan gave him an alternative of paying a one-off Ksh14,000 to get the licence.
“We will book the test but you won’t seat for it. You’re 100 per cent guaranteed to pass the test and your driving licence will be issued,” said Hassan.
Hassan made arrangements with an NTSA official only identified as Jeremiah and the reporter was issued with the smart DL at the NTSA headquarters.
“Everything was done within the NTSA offices and in broad daylight so that shows how much the system is corrupt,” said the journalist.
Keen to know the extent of the rot, BBC Africa Eye visited Pettans Driving School where a female investigator managed to get the smart DL. The agents at the institution used similar tactics as Hassan to get the document.
“I have never driven a car, I don’t know how to drive but I have my driving license. How many people out there have driving licences yet they do not know how to drive thereby risking people’s lives?” the undercover investigator said.
Reached for comment, both managements of Rocky and Pettans denied engaging in fraudulent dealings with NTSA, further distancing themselves from the agents’ actions.
Petanns said the agent identified as Silas was not an authorised member of their staff, insisting that the school has uthorised staff and NTSA accredited trainers that handle students.
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BBC also found out that rogue matatu operators are colluding with NTSA investigators to skip mandatory vehicle inspection exercises at a fee. The investigators parted with at least Ksh24,000 to ‘by-pass’ the crucial exercise.
The year 2021, NTSA statistics show, had the highest number of fatal road cases in the last five years.
According to NTSA, the number of people killed on Kenyan roads in 2021 went up by more than 20 per cent compared to 2020. By the end of 2021, some 4,579 people had died in road accidents while 16, 046 were nursing injuries.