By DAVID KURIA Via Facebook
Hats off to the Kenya Police – you guys run one of the most effective scams your citizens have ever seen. This thing for towing cars – it’s B.R.I.L.L.I.A.N.T.
So today I get flagged down for a minor traffic offence and I’m informed my vehicle MUST be towed to the police station. I offer to drive but the officer says because it is apparently unroadworthy, it must be towed. Interesting. While on the way to the station, the ‘tow truck guys'(minus the cop) stop along the way ostensibly to convince me that the station is unnecessary. Once there I will pay 5,500/= for towing anyway, but since I look like a busy guy, there’s no need. Just pay the 5,500/= to them and I can go on my merry way (in my car that is apparently too unroadworthy to drive). “Where’s the cop?”I ask myself, as he is the one who booked me. Do these guys have the authority to release me without him? Interesting. Thanks. But no thanks. Off to the station we go. As soon as we are 3 minutes from the station, the cop rejoins us – just in time not to implicate himself in any bribery story. Convenient.
Anywho…I get booked. After dilly dallying for two hours, I am free to drive off (in the same car, mind you). But here’s where the fun starts. To be released, I must pay the TOWING charges. I ask how much they are, and the attending officer tells me he does not know, but maybe around 3,500/=. He calls some dude I have not met yet, but definitely part of the ‘scam gang’. He walk in and says it is 6,500/=. The officer has mercy on me and says I will only pay 3k. My head is spinning. Those are four different amounts. I ask the cop whether I pay him, like I did with the bond, and he says no, pay the other dude. I ask whether I get a receipt and whether the money is going to the police service. You know…utumishi kwa wote. He gets hostile. So I follow the guy out and tell him I need a receipt. He doesn’t have a receipt book as he was not left with one – but after I insist, he knows what to do. He walks me round to what looks like a laundry room, and whips out a receipt book. This nondescript receipt is what I get. No stamp. No signature. No Letterhead. It’s like I bought Chapo Mayai at the next door kibanda.
My questions…maybe you can help me answer.
1. I never called a tow truck, why am I paying them?
2. How is it that the tow truck is always parked conveniently next to the police officers? It got to us in less than two minutes.
3. If this is a legit service, what are their rates? And was the over 50% discount I was given have anything to do with the distance we were travelling, the time taken (it took less than 7 minutes to the police station), type of car I have or just my dashingly good looks?
4. Also if this is a legit service, why don’t I pay the police service and they manage their third party costs?
5. Where does this money go to? Who is it split amongst? Will Kenya Revenue Authority get their tax from it?
6. Who owns the Mpesa establishment right outside the station where all these transactions happen?
I doubt that the Ombudsman Kenya, the Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission (KACC), the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure-GoK or even the Kenya Police will have any answers for me. So I have to ask the rest of us. How rotten is this system?