Senators put Sonko on the spot over JamboPay deal
- Mr Sonko said he could not stop the contract for fear of lawsuits for breach of the agreement, saying this could be costly to the taxpayer.
- But, the lawmakers questioned why he had not exploited the exit clause in the contract to end the deal.
Senators have criticised Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko for failure to terminate the contract between the county and JamboPay revenue collection platform even after the Auditor-General and the assembly found the system inefficient.
Digital payment system JamboPay, owned by Web Tribe, has been offering services to Nairobi since 2014.
The lawmakers said the system is wanting, prone to leakages and that the county is not in control of the transactions.
Mr Sonko told the County Public Accounts and Investments Committee the system is a “headache” as its transactions are not always transparent and its owners are not accountable.
“We have written protest letters to the owners of the system to no avail. Our main problem with them is reconciliation of figures which is not happening,” he said, telling the committee that an audit by KPMG had failed to account for up to Sh22 billion. “We have even asked them to bring their servers to City Hall so that we can monitor the transactions but they have refused."
He urged the Senate to summon JamboPay's CEO and question him.
Mr Sonko said he could not stop the contract for fear of lawsuits for breach of the agreement, saying this could be costly to the taxpayer. He also said termination meant going back to manual payments which are more susceptible to corruption.
But, the lawmakers questioned his sincerity on the issue and demanded an explanation on why he had not exploited the exit clause in the contract to end the deal.
Mr Moses Kajwang', who chairs the committee, told the governor to take practical steps to terminate the contract. “If you are dissatisfied you better terminate it because this committee will hold you responsible and recommend that you be investigated for the loss of public funds and violation of the law,” he warned, saying waiting for the contract to run out is not enough.
Narok senator Ledama ole Kina said the deal is flawed because it violates the Public Finance Management Act which stipulates that commission payable to those who collect revenue on behalf of a public entity cannot be paid at source. “The fact that JamboPay pays itself before banking the money is illegal and should be a ground to terminate the contract,” Mr Kina said.
Kiambu Senator Kimani Wamatangi said the contract is meant to put the county in bondage until it runs out.
The contract stipulates that any party can terminate the contract after a six month notice and after the party that owes money pays the other.