Motorists face charges of up to Sh50,000 or six-month jail term for driving through toll stations without paying the required fees after MPs pave the way for the introduction of pay-for-use roads in Kenya.
The Finance Bill 2020, which takes effect from July 1, will also see those who refuse to stop a vehicle at a toll station or fraudulently or forcibly drives a car through without paying the toll slapped with Sh50,000 fine or imprisonment to a term not exceeding six months.
Those who drive through a toll station not designated for the passage of the vehicle face similar punishment.
The National Assembly’s Finance and National Planning Committee has amended the Public Roads Toll Act, to increase the penalty from Sh5,000 to Sh50,000.
“The amendment seeks to enhance the penalty for failure or fraudulently passing through a toll station without paying or failure to use the designated route for passage through a toll station,” Joseph Limo, who chairs the committee, said in a report on the Finance Bill, 2020.
In addition to the penalty, the court will have the power to order the offender to pay the prescribed toll.
The MPs have also moved to ensure that transit tolls levied under Public Roads Toll Act are remitted to the Roads Maintenance Levy Fund as provided for under the Roads Act and not the yet to be established Public Roads Toll Fund.
The MPs have deleted the Treasury proposal in the Finance Bill 2020 that would have moved transit tolls from the Roads Maintenance Levy Fund to the Public Roads Tolls Fund.
The government is seeking to put in place legal mechanisms to guide the toll fees on major national roads and establishment of a toll fund from July 1.
The list of highways, where motorists may soon start paying includes Nairobi-Nakuru, Nairobi-Mombasa, Nairobi-Thika and Southern Bypass in Nairobi.
The toll fees based on distance and capacity of the car, amount to a new layer of taxation and will see motorists pay toll charges on top of the fuel levy even though tax revenues funded the roads.
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