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 when it expires on April 7, 2019.
Appearing before the County Assembly Energy and ICT Committee, Danson Muchemi, the chief executive officer of Web Tribe which is JamboPay’s parent company, revealed that the negative publicity the firm has been getting since entering into contract with City Hall has been depicting it in bad light.
He explained that political interference has also been on the increase. With JamboPay’s contract nearing its end, he said, there has been jostling and attacks on his company leading to their decision not to renew the contract with the county once the current one lapses.
Mr Muchemi attributed the political interference to certain political figures whom he did not name, accusing them of trying to meddle with how the firm operates.
He said that the decision not to renew the 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.
Mr Muchemi 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 result of these accusations while some started to doubt our capability,” he said.
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, customisation, 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.
ACQUIRE OWN SYSTEM
It had earlier been said that City Hall could acquire its own ICMS but this would only be possible in six to 12 months, a longer period considering the transition period is being pegged at three months.
Landi Mawe MCA Herman Azangu said that there are clear indicators that City Hall is staring at a crisis, further expressing doubt whether the county government is ready for JamboPay’s exit.
However, Mr Muchemi assured the MCAs that they are ready to help the county during the transition, adding that the firm’s technical team has been having daily meetings with the county.
He said 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.