14 March 2019

Kenya: JamboPay - Why We Did Not Renew Our Contract With City Hall

Political interference, mistrust and negative publicity are the major factors that pushed electronic payment platform provider, JamboPay, not to renew its contract with City Hall, it has now emerged.

The damning revelations emerged during an oversight committee session where the firm's management was being grilled.

On January 7, 2019 Web Tribe wrote to City Hall stating it will not be seeking to renew its contract with the county government which is set to expire on April 7, 2019.

Appearing before the County Assembly Energy and ICT committee, Webtribe, JamboPay's parent company, chief executive officer Danson Muchemi revealed that the negative publicity the firm has been getting since entering into contract with City Hall has been depicting the company in bad light.

He explained that political interference has also been on the increase with their contract nearing its end with jostling and attack on his company gaining traction leading to their decision not to renew its contract with the county once the current one elapses.

Mr Muchemi said that the political interference came about by certain political figures, whom he did not name, accusing them of trying to meddle with how the firm operates.

RENEW CONTRACT

He said that the decision not to renew their contract was arrived at as a measure aimed at protecting the company from political meddling.

"We have continued receiving bad publicity from the county government despite the fact that we have been in business together with a relationship spanning the last five years," said Mr Muchemi on Wednesday.

The company was contracted by the county government in 2014 to supply, implement and maintain an automated revenue collection and payments solution for a period of five years.

He told the committee that there has been mistrust between them and City Hall with accusations from the latter that they have been 'stealing' from them.

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

BIDDING PROCESS

Last month, the firm said that it will not participate in the bidding process for a new advertisement by the county on February 1, calling on interested bidders for the supply, installation, configuration, customization, testing, commissioning and maintenance of an Integrated City Revenue Management System (ICMS).

Meanwhile, Nairobi County ICT Chief Officer Halakhano Waqo said that a transition team has already been put in place and has been meeting with plans underway to ensure smooth transition from JamboPay to another revenue collection platform.

This came after the MCAs expressed concerns that the county government might be plunged into a crisis should JamboPay leave without having another firm with a similar capacity in place.

It had earlier been mentioned that City Hall could acquire its own Integrated City Revenue Management System but this would only be possible between six and 12 months, a longer period considering transition period being pegged at three months.

Woodley/Kenyatta MCA Mwangi Njihia expressed concerns that the county could find itself in crisis in revenue collection should they let JamboPay go without another firm with same capacity being in place.

His Landi Mawe counterpart Herman Azangu said that there are clear indicators that City Hall is staring at a crisis doubting whether the county government is ready for JamboPay's exit.

However, Mr Muchemi assured the MCAs that they were ready to help the county during transition, adding that the firm's technical team has been having daily meetings with the county indicating that they have considered giving out for free the software that the firm is using but the county government will have to pay for other associated services.

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