Trea­sury dis­owns ecit­i­zen com­pany

PS de­nies in court pa­pers al­leged deal for Gol­drock to col­lect rev­enue

Daily Nation (Kenya) - - NATIONAL NEWS - BY BRIAN WASUNA news­­tion­

Firms, min­istry duel over por­tal fees

The Trea­sury has dis­owned a firm con­tracted to col­lect rev­enue from ecit­i­zen users, deep­en­ing the mys­tery of how a pri­vate com­pany took over the role of Kenya Rev­enue Au­thor­ity.

Trea­sury Prin­ci­pal Sec­re­tary Ka­mau Thugge has in fresh court pa­pers said the gov­ern­ment did not au­tho­rise a pri­vate firm to re­ceive the pay­ments.

Gol­drock Cap­i­tal has sued the Trea­sury and Web­mas­ters Kenya, which de­vel­oped the on­line por­tal, for deny­ing it ac­cess to the web­site’s mo­bile money (M-pesa) pay­bill num­ber 206206, which re­ceives mil­lions of shillings ev­ery day.

Since 2014, Gol­drock has col­lected more than Sh5.6 bil­lion un­der the ecit­i­zen plat­form, through which the gov­ern­ment pro­vides essen­tial ser­vices such as ap­pli­ca­tions for pass­ports, driv­ing li­cences, busi­ness reg­is­tra­tion, mo­tor ve­hi­cle log­books and ti­tle deeds.

The por­tal was de­vel­oped in 2013 with fund­ing from the World Bank’s pri­vate lend­ing arm In­ter­na­tional Fi­nance Cor­po­ra­tion (IFC) and oth­ers.

Sa­fari­com, own­ers of M-pesa mo­bile money plat­form, has been en­joined in the suit.

KRA is the pri­mary agency au­tho­rised by law to col­lect rev­enue for the gov­ern­ment and any other would re­quire Par­lia­ment’s ap­proval or ap­point­ment by the Trea­sury.

Dr Thugge says the Trea­sury only au­tho­rised Web­mas­ters to train gov­ern­ment of­fi­cers to han­dle the por­tal and any con­tract to hire a firm to col­lect rev­enue was null and void.

Dr Thugge says in his re­sponse: “I am aware that Gol­drock Cap­i­tal is not au­tho­rised by the CS Na­tional Trea­sury to col­lect rev­enue for and on be­half of the gov­ern­ment.”

No re­la­tion­ship

Gol­drock says it was sub­con­tracted by Web­mas­ters Africa Limited on be­half of Web­mas­ters Kenya Ltd. But Web­mas­ters Kenya says it has no re­la­tion­ship with Web­mas­ters Africa and has never hired Gol­drock to col­lect rev­enue from the ecit­i­zen plat­form.

De­spite the de­nial, how­ever, court records in­di­cate that Web­mas­ters Kenya CEO James Ayugi dou­bles as Web­mas­ters Africa’s man­ag­ing di­rec­tor.

In Web­mas­ters Africa’s re­ply­ing af­fi­davit, Mr Ayugi ad­mits that the firm sub­con­tracted Gol­drock to col­lect money paid to the ecit­i­zen plat­form but the deal would ex­pire in the event that the gov­ern­ment is­sued a bind­ing di­rec­tive re­lat­ing to the pay­ment por­tal.

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