MISTRUST AND INTERFERENCE

Why JamboPay won't collect city revenue

City faces crisis without another collection scheme in place; contract expires on April 7

In Summary

• Web Tribe CEO Danson Muchemi appeared before ICT committee to explain why JamboPaywon't renew contract

• On December 3 last year, Governor  Sonko called for Senate intervention and accused JamboPay of being unaccountable

Web Tribe chief executive officer Danson Muchemi.
Web Tribe chief executive officer Danson Muchemi.
Image: EZEKIEL AMINGA

Political interference, negative publicity and mistrust caused JamboPay to refuse to renew its e-revenue collection contract with City Hall. 

Web Tribe CEO Danson Muchemi said on Wednesday that political interference portrayed the company in bad light.

"We have continued to receive bad PR from the county government despite the fact that we have been in business together for the last five years," Muchemi told the county assembly's ICT and Energy committee.

Muchemi said "certain political figures", whom he did not name, wanted to meddle in company's operations.

Webtribe has automated 136 out of 138 revenue streams at City Hall.

The CEO also said mistrust arose after his firm was accused of theft.

"We have been accused of stealing money that belongs to the county. We have lost clients as a result of these accusations while some started to doubt our capability," Muchemi said.

In a letter dated January 7,  Web Tribe told City Hall it will not be renewing its contract that expires on April 7.

"The position of JamboPay is that we felt the relationship with the Nairobi county government has been quite good but it had reached a point that we said it was time [to part ways]," Muchemi said. He did not explain the contradiction.

City Hall has said it will acquire its own Integrated City Revenue Management System in six to 12 months.

County ICT chief officer Halakhano Waqo said already the transition team has been meeting and plans are underway.

Muchemi told the committee that the company's technical team has been meeting daily with county officials.

JamboPay said it was considering giving the county government free software, which it has been using but the county will have to pay for other associated services.

As JamboPay’s contract expires in three weeks, the committee has expressed doubt whether the county is ready for the exit and can manage collection on its own.

Woodley Kenyatta MCA Mwangi Njihia said there could be a crisis if  JamboPay goes without another firm in place.

Landi Mawe MCA Herman Azangu said the county is facing a crisis.

JamboPay collected Sh9.86 billion in the 2017-2018 financial year despite the long campaigning period, which lowered revenues of most county governments. It collected Sh10.9 billion in 2016-217.

On December 3 last year, Governor Mike Sonko called for the Senate’s intervention and accused JamboPay of being unaccountable.

When Muchemi appeared before the Senate two days later he said his company had observed all contractual obligations.

"All the money collected is put in a trust fund and it does not belong to the county until a transaction is made. I want you to note that as a company we have done everything possible to be a reliable digitised platform for revenue collection. Therefore I refute what Governor Sonko said,” Muchemi said.

He accused the county government of failing to implement some amendments made to their contract allowing them to deduct a 1.5 per cent commission on all the revenue collected.

The company was hired by former Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero for a Sh23 million contract in April 2014.

JamboPay It was among the 65 companies that expressed interest in the tender, caming second after a South African firm.