The Independent Consumer and Competition Commission (ICCC) has taken the Road Traffic Authority (RTA) to Court over non-compliance of ICCC’s Statutory Notice.
ICCC Commissioner and Chief Executive Officer, Paulus Ain said that on the 31st May, 2018 the Road Traffic Authority (RTA) released a Public Notice, on Page 14 of The National newspaper, announcing new road traffic fees and charges to come into effect on 1st June, 2018 which raised concerns at the ICCC.
“The ICCC was very concerned about the new fees and charges with regards to the financial impact on commuters and vehicle owners; the RTA’s lack of meaningful consultation with relevant stakeholders,ICCC being one of them, before the implementation of these fees and charges;and the fact that the new fees and charges being excessive would be a burden for the majority of the commuters and vehicle owners.”
Commissioner Ain added that in ICCC validating its concerns, the ICCC also received complaints from the public about the sudden increases in fees and charges.
“The ICCC decided to look into these complaints and concerns by consulting with RTA.”
“The purpose of ICCC’s inquiry into the RTA was to establish how the RTA came about with the calculation of these excessive fees and charges and review these calculations to determine whether the calculations were accurate and reasonable.”
“If the ICCC reviews the calculations and determines that it is unreasonable, then we intend to liaise with RTA to stop the implementation of these fees and charges and collectively review calculation of these fees and charges.”
The ICCC can issue a Statutory Notice under Section 128 of the ICCC Act to a person and that person is then required by law to comply with that Statutory notice to provide information that will assist with of ICCC’s functions.
Under the ICCCAct when a person is required to furnish information or answer a question and the person refuses or fails to furnish the information or to answer the question; or gives information or makes an answer that is false that person isguilty of an offence.
Commissioner Ain said where a person is guilty of an offence under the ICCC Act, the ICCC can prosecute that person in the courts. ICCC wrote to RTA requesting information about the sudden increases in fees and charges.
Following the failure of RTA to favorably respondto ICCC’s requests for information about the sudden increases in fees and charges,the ICCC issued a Statutory Notice to RTA in October last year, requiring RTAto provide the following to the ICCC by 16th November, 2018:
· Justifications for the increases in fees and charges;
· The data set used to calculate the increases; and
· The methodology used to calculate the increases.
RTA only provided information relating to its justification for the increases in fees and charges and the methodology used to calculate the increases. The ICCC extended the due-date to 14th December, 2018 for RTA to provide information relating to the data used to calculate the increases however, the RTA has failed to fully comply to the Statutory Notice within the before or by 14th December 2018.
On 21st December 2018, ICCC wrote to the Office of Public Prosecutor, advising that itwill be taking legal actions against RTA. On 7th of March 2019 the ICCC filed court proceedings against RTA, for allegedly breaching Section 128 of the ICCC Act.
Commissioner Ain said the ICCC will inform the general public of the outcome of this court case following the court decision in the near future.