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Citizen Weekly

Sunday, 22 March 2015

Clearing agents in bitter fight for car imports niche

A section of importers, clearing and forwarding agents have criticised the chairman of Car Importers Association of Kenya for undermining an inspection body conducting quality inspection services in Japan that was recently awarded the tender by the Kenya Bureau of Standards.
The importers’ agents led by their national chairman of the Association of Importers of Kenya noted that a splinter group led by Peter Otino was not in touch with reality on the ground and termed him as a busy body who has failed to defend its members.
Peter Mambembe who is also the interim president of Federations of Associations of East Africa defended the agency saying it  was giving quality services as it had agreed with importers to increase inspection charges due to efficient service delivery and increase of costs in logistics and materials.
Mambembe said it is unjustified, reckless and baseless for Ciak to wake up and start criticising the inspection body for the sake of making cheap publicity for selfish political gain.
He warned Otino to stop engaging the inspection body on a political war and threatened to move to court if the association officials will not withdraw their allegations and mischief within seven days.
He said it is misleading for the officials to claim that over 7000 vehicles are imported every month and that the agency is able to inspect 150 vehicles per day, creating a backlog in Japan a move that has no justification and meant to divert attention of fighting corruption at the Port of Mombasa.
Mambembe supported John Agongo, the agency quality assurance official for clarifying that the firm has nine inspection centres, three in Kanto and two each at Chuba, Konki and Kyushu and the charges increased were agreed upon by importers.
He noted that the port of Mombasa receives 3000 or less units each month and the Association of Car Importers of Kenya exaggerated the figure to mislead the government that all is not well in the industry.
Mambembe accused Otino of protecting foreign traders operating showrooms in Mombasa and said his association is pushing for a bill to regulate importation and foreigners will be shocked because they will not approve their licences unless local traders are shareholders of the respective firms.