Nairobi Governor Mike Mbuvi Sonko had a busy week as he settled in office after being sworn-in on Monday.
The flamboyant governor says he wants to get rid the cartels that have bedevilled City Hall for years to deny city residents crucial services.
Top on the agenda for Sonko is to address garbage collection, water services and sealing loopholes in the cash office following claims that Nairobi County government could be losing about Sh3 billion a month.
On Tuesday, the governor sent home the Nairobi Water and Sewerage Company board chairman Raphael Nzomo.
“I have suspended the board because the workers have complained of harassment. We want to listen to both sides and do the audit of operations until we come up with the way forward,” he said.
Recently, workers protested when reports emerged that there could be plans afoot to sell the corporation to a private firm.
“As the governor, I have not received any communication or briefed on any plan to sell this company. But I have heard it from the workers and I want to assure them that this company will not be sold,” Sonko said.
On Wednesday, Sonko made an impromptu visit to the City Hall cash office where he found Sh7 million from the previous day’s collection hidden in a drawer. He demanded to know why the money had not been banked.
The Governor wrote to Web Tribe Ltd, the owners of JamboPay and Jijipay platform, contracted by City Hall to offer electronic cash transaction, demanding to know its directors and how much they have collected in a period of two weeks.
“I am reliably informed that your company is contracted by the Nairobi City County and operates JamboPay cash collection. To enable me familiarise myself with the system, I hereby direct you to provide my office by close of business today with the documents requested,” the letter dated August 23, reads in part.
It was revealed that out of 136 revenue streams, only 14 are automated while the rest are manual, a loophole that unscrupulous workers could be using to pocket money.
Records at City Hall indicate that about Sh14 million is collected daily from the 14 streams while revenue from the other 122 can’t be corroborated.
Web Tribe CEO Danson Muchemi forwarded documents on the financial transactions saying the same information can be obtained on the real-time eJijiPAY electronic revenue collection dash board.
“We wish to inform you that JamboPay only collects 14 revenue streams out of the 136 revenue streams specified in the county Finance Act,” Muchemi wrote. The 14 include daily parking, seasonal parking, parking penalties, singe business permit, house rents, land rates, liquor licenses, market rents, miscellaneous, E-Construction, Fire, Health, advertisement and regularization. “From 14 streams, we are getting about Sh14 million, this means if we seal all loopholes, the amount can rise up to Sh100 million a day or Sh3 billion in a month,” Sonko said.
Following the revelations the governor asked the Directorate Criminal Investigations (DCI) to investigate how transactions are carried out in the cash office.
He wants detectives to conduct a lifestyle audit of the officers in cash office and a special forensic audit to determine if and how much cash is siphoned off.
“I have formally requested the DCI director Ndegwa Muhoro to send officers to start the probe immediately; we want to know how much they have been stealing and have the culprits charged,” Sonko said after visiting the CID headquarters.
The county boss vowed to suspend some officers to pave way for an independent investigation.
The EjijiPay record indicates that a total of Sh14,234,122 had been collected of which just about half was banked in the County’s accounts at Cooperative Bank, Kenya Commercial Bank and National Bank.
In 2016, Nairobi was crowned as the highest local revenue generator with a Sh9.62 billion collection in the last financial year.
However, the governor says this amount could double or even triple if loopholes of revenue leaks are sealed.
Records indicate Sh11.6 billion has been collected through the electronic payment platform, JijiPay, since its inception with the service provider citing sabotage at City hall as one of the challenges it has faced. On Tuesday, the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission detectives questioned outgoing Finance Executive Committee member Gregory Mwakanongo and Chief Finance Officer Luke Gatimu over payments made to legal firms.
On Friday, the Governor also met the Association of Garbage Collectors and promised to review systems that have crippled waste disposal management.