Drivers face 20 years in jail over scrap metals
Two Kenyan drivers will become the first casualties of Scrap Metal Act after they pleaded guilty to having transported scrap batteries to the neighbouring Tanzania without a licence.
Isaack Kimani and Francis Njoroge were last Thursday charged in a Loitoktok court for transporting scrap metal without a licence from the National Environment Management Authority (Nema).
The duo admitted the charges before Senior Magistrate Judicaster Nthambi that they were transporting scrap batteries without a licence. Magistrate will convict them on November 9 after reviewing the probation report.
They face a jail term of up to 20 years, a Sh20 million fine or both.
Vehicles transporting scrap metals without a license will forfeit them to the State, the law states.
Kenya banned the export of scrap metal, through a law enacted in 2015.
Legislation is meant to support the retention of raw material for value addition and provides stringent conditions under which exports of lead would be permitted.
Scrap metal dealers have opted to use the so called “panya routes” to transport the items, as using the border points has become difficult as Nema and the Kenya Revenue Authority tight ens inspection.
Scrap Metal Law was enacted in 2015 following an outcry by local manufacturers of lack of scrap, which they use as raw materials.
Since its operationalisation, no one has ever been convicted although the trade has been going on, especially along the Tanzania and Uganda border points.
Nema Director General Mamo Memo said the authority, in partnership with other relevant State agencies, has adopted an intelligence based enforcement approach, where they gather intelligence before striking.
“This approach has really borne fruits. We thank our able inspectors in Kajiado, led by the County Director of Environment Joseph Kopejo and his team,” Mamo said.