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NTSA faulted for holding 296,000 obsolete driving licences

Economy

Wednesday December 28 2022

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The digital driving licence. FILE PHOTO | NMG

The National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) is on the spot for holding 296,000 blank smart driving licences valued at Sh91 million that have been rendered obsolete due to changes in printing technology.

Auditor General Nancy Gathungu says in her report that NTSA is stuck with the cards, five years after Kenya rolled out digital licences.

“It was not explained how value for money would be derived in receipt and continued storage of absolute stocks of blank smart driving licence cards,” Ms Gathungu said in the latest audit tabled in Parliament.

Ms Gathungu said as at June 30, 2021, a closing balance of 1,273,174 blank smart driving licence cards were still at the authority’s head office stores.

“Included in the number of 1,273,174 are 296,000 blank smart cards valued at Sh91,108,800 that have been rendered obsolete due to changes in printing technology,” Ms Gathungu said in a report to the National Assembly.

She said according to the arrangement, the contract was originally supposed to run up to March 8, 2020, with an extension of two years ending March 8, 2022. The new digital licence meets international standards; it is processed on the Transport Integrated Management System (TIMS), an interactive digital platform that the NTSA launched in 2016.

The TIMS, funded under the World Bank-supported Eastern Africa Regional Transport, Trade and Development Facilitation Project, has simplified the application, processing, and issuance of the licences.

Ms Gathungu has questioned NTSA’s financial position of Sh455.7 million, which includes Sh450.4 million in respect of specialised materials out of which Sh395.6 million relates to smart driving licences.

She said a review revealed the NTSA entered into a three-year contract starting March 7, 2017, with a local bank for the supply, delivery, installation and maintenance of Second-Generation smart-card based driving licences and associated services at a contract sum of $21,094,284.41. The audit shows that on March 3, 2017, the bank entered into a sub contract with another firm for the supply, delivery, installation and maintenance of the second-generation smart-card based licences and associated services.

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“However, the ownership of the printing technology for smart driving licences and the role of the main bank (main contractor) was not clearly spelt out in the main contract,” Ms Gathungu said.

The subcontracted firm was to supply five million smart card driving licences by December 31, 2019 to the bank.

The NTSA has not justified the extension of the contract for two years ending March 8, 2022, Ms Gathungu said.

“The authority management has not justified the extension for two years and no evidence of contingency arrangements in place to ensure that the service delivery is not disrupted in the case the contract is disrupted,” she said.

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Jay Ndungu

Jay is a computer scientist and journalist with a passion for the intersection of technology and society. He has a background in computer science, developing a deep understanding of the technical aspects of the industry, including programming languages and software development methodologies. Currently, He writes for Nairobi Times, covering a wide range of topics including technology, politics, sports, and entertainment. With his unique combination of technical knowledge and journalistic experience, Jay brings a unique perspective to the stories he covers, able to explain complex technical concepts in an easy-to-understand manner. His work is dedicated to bridge the gap between technology and society, and to make people more aware of the potential of technology to make the world a better place.

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