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Two in court over hiked fuel prices as outcry rages on

NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 20- Two Kenyans have moved to court to challenge the recent hike in fuel prices arguing that the decision was inconsiderate and over looked the tough economic times the ordinary citizens are undergoing.

The two petitioners Isaiah Odando and Wilson Yata want the decision by Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) to adjust petroleum excise duty rates quashed.

In their petition, the two further argued that the respondents ignored public participation before adjusting the rates.

“The decision by the Commissioner General of the Kenya Revenue Authority to adjust excise duty rates for petroleum products though discretionary has been described as a burden by the already overtaxed Kenyans and was devoid of proper public participation at a time when Kenyans are reeling from the economic consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic thereby compromising the people’s entitlement to social justice under Article 10 of the constitution,” part of the petition read.

Through their lawyer Kenneth Omondi, the two said perennial increase of fuel prices have led to high cost of living.

Those named as respondents include KRA, Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (EPRA), the National Assembly and Petroleum and Mining Cabinet Secretary John Munyes.

“It is in the public interest that the respondents are compelled to inculcate constitutional principles in the management of public finance and that they always protect the economic interest of the public as envisaged under Articles 46(3) of the Constitution and the Energy Act 2019,” the petition read.

Fuel prices shot up in Kenya last week by an average of Sh9 per litre, sparking outrage across the country.

On Tuesday last week, the Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority hiked pump prices by Sh 9.5 average over the next month, signaling tough times ahead across many sectors of the economy.

The regulator had imposed consecutive hikes in April, May, and June after which the prices remained unchanged for two months as a result of retention of the fuel costs.

In a statement, EPRA announced the pump prices for super petrol, diesel and kerosene would increase by Sh7.58, Sh7.94, and Sh12.97 per litre respectively in Nairobi.

Kenyans have protested the surge and accused the government of being insensitive particularly due to the COVID-19 economic effects.

On ThursdaySenate Speaker Ken Lusaka directed the Energy Committee to summon Energy Cabinet Secretary Charles Keter and his Petroleum counterpart Peter Munyes to appear before the Committee of the whole House on Tuesday over the hike in fuel prices.

Lusaka issued the order following a statement by Nandi Senator Samson Cherargei who sought to know why fuel in Kenya has been on the rise consistently in recent months.

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