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Court Rules Against Exorbitant HELB penalties

The Nairobi High Court has ruled that the Higher Education Loans Board (HELB) interests and penalties should not exceed the principal amount..

High Court judge Alfred Mabeya ruled in the lawsuit filed by Anne Mugure, Davis Nguthu and Wangui Wachira in 2021 and declared that Section 15 of the HELB Act was not constitutional.

“A declaration is hereby issued that the respondent is not entitled to recover an amount exceeding double the amount advanced,” read part of the ruling.

The petitioners had filed that HELB’s penalties and interest rates were so high that they more than doubled the principal amount within a short period making it not possible to plan for repayments.

According to the petitioners, their socioeconomic wellbeing was threatened, contravening the provisions of the Consitution to the right to good living.

They submitted that it was a nightmare to get a job as they had been denied clearances according to the requirement of Chapter 6 of the Kenya Constitution.

On their part, HELB opposed the application arguing that they were not given a chance to address the grievances of the petitioners. The court also maintained that those who seek loans are poor Kenyans who direly need it to advance their education and come out of poverty.

It was then ironic that the same people were charged highly charged and this prevented them from accessing job opportunities based on their defaulting on repayment.

At the moment, HELB was under the obligation to restructure its loans and repayments to comply with the ruling of the court following the successful petition.

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