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Sonko fallout: My life is in danger, JamboPay CEO claims

Sunday February 23 2020

JamboPay's Chief Executive Officer Danson Muchemi

JamboPay's Chief Executive Officer Danson Muchemi during an interview at the company's offices at View Park Towers in Nairobi on April 3, 2012. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

COLLINS OMULO
By COLLINS OMULO
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The fallout between Web Tribe chief executive Danson Muchemi and Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko seems to have worsened with the former now claiming his life is in danger.

Mr Muchemi has filed a report with police, saying he fears for his life following a road accident and a phone call that he terms suspicious.

Mr Muchemi's organisation is the parent company of JamboPay, which Nairobi County contracted between April 2014 and June 2019 to supply and maintain an electronic revenue collection and payments system.

The company ended the contract amid investigations by the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) into a complex web of fraud at City Hall.

THE REPORT

The CEO recorded a statement at Kilimani Police Station in Nairobi, under OB number 36/22/2/2020.

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Mr Muchemi said he was involved in a suspicious accident on the Nyahururu-Gilgil Road at about 10.30am on February 9.

He said a lorry rammed into his vehicle near Pembrooke House, leaving him with head injuries that forced his admission at Aga Khan Hospital for a week.

Mr Muchemi went on to say that on February 20 at about 8.26am while he was in Westlands, he received a call from a person who identified himself as Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko and said he had received reports about him.

“He told me ‘Wewe umeniangusha. Niko na mashida [sic] ... wewe umeniangusha ... sasa hata impeachment inakuja na unaniangusha ... chunga’. (You have let me down yet I have many problems. There is a planned impeachment against me yet you are letting me down ... be careful),” the CEO said.

On Thursday, Minority Whip Peter Imwatok (Makongeni) tabled an impeachment notice, paving the way for the process of removing the governor.

He accused Sonko of being unable to control Nairobi's debts and clear pending bills, of gross misconduct and bringing the office of the governor to disrepute.

Mr Muchemi said: “After the call, I felt that my life was in danger. That prompted me to report the matter to the office of the Directorate of Criminal Investigations in Kilimani."

“The cause of the accident has remained unexplained to me and now threats to me by the caller, mobile number 0730 888888, [make me feel] my life is in danger," he said, calling for quick action.

SONKO'S RESPONSE

Reached for comment on the matter, Governor Sonko termed the CEO's allegations false, malicious and fictitious.

In a statement recorded on the same day Mr Muchemi filed his report, he admitted that he called Mr Muchemi on February 20 but said it was to let him know he had received the demand letter for an outstanding payment of Sh16.12 million.

“I further wish to state that my communication with him was purely based on his company’s letter, a fact which he did not disclose in his report and statement to the police,” Sonko said in his report at Capitol Hill Police Station under OB 41/22/2/2020.

“I find it strange that Mr Muchemi reported the matter two days after the alleged threat. I therefore request police to do a thorough investigation into the entire allegation."

Mr Muchemi wrote the demand letter on February 18.

“We hereby demand that you honour the invoices and process payments totalling Sh16,116, 609.36 without further delay, failing which we shall be instructing our lawyers to pursue the debt, with all the ... consequences,” read the letter that Steve Ogolla Advocates wrote on behalf of Web Tribe.

BROKEN RELATIONS

Prior to JamboPay's termination of its contract with City Hall, Mr Muchemi painted a picture of breaking relations with the county.

The JamboPay boss cited political interference, mistrust and negative publicity as major factors that forced the company out of the business deal.

“We have been accused of stealing money that belongs to the county. We have lost clients as a result of these accusations while some have started to doubt our capability,” he said during a session with the Nairobi assembly's Energy and ICT committee.

He also told the MCAs that political figures, which he did not name, had tried to interfere with the company's operations.