In the wake of the renewed fight against graft, the Director of Criminal Investigations (DCI) has set his eyes on the disappearance of Sh5.6 billion in the government’s eCitizen online services.
Two years after Kahawa Tungu highlighted brazen theft at the government portal, detectives have begun investigations aimed at unraveling how the Sh5.6 billion mysteriously disappeared from the eCitizen pay bill account.
“We have started investigations and will keep Kenyans informed of the progress as we move on,” a senior DCI officer familiar with the investigations told a local daily.
In the investigations, sleuths are targeting Treasury officials, well-connected politicians and top Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) officials who are said to be behind the controversial online payments portal.
On the spot is Goldrock Capital limited, a local firm managing the portal’s paybill account number.
Kahawa Tungu has learnt that the money could not be traced after court barred the firm from operating the account that reportedly received millions of shillings per day from Kenyans seeking government services.
Sources privy to the scandal, told the local daily that sleuths will be keen on establishing the link between top Treasury officials and the firms at the centre of the missing billions.
“What we are looking at is a fraud scheme orchestrated by government employees as well as a network of other senior figures,” DCI official revealed.
It will be interesting to find out how Goldrock Capial Limited took over the role of KRA to collect funds from Kenyans without approval from the Treasury, considering the latter has denied claims of issuing such approval.
It’s important to note that KRA is the primary agency authorised by law to collect revenue for the government and any other agency would require Parliament’s approval or appointment by the Treasury.
Further, in the probe, detectives would seek answers if KRA commissioner general John Njiraini was aware that a private firm had been ‘engaged’ by the Treasury to collect money from taxpayers on the taxman’s behalf.
The DCI source, noted that the investigations won’t be complete without unraveling the recipient of Sh50, a convenience fee charged on each transaction made through the platform.
The eCitizen is an online platform, through which the government provides essential services such as applications for driving licences, passports, business registration, motor vehicle logbooks and title deeds.
The portal was built by Webmasters Kenya Limited at a cost of Ksh 70million through a world bank funded program.
In 2017, Kahawa Tungu reported that a group of well-connected government officials and private individuals are believed to behind the theft of government funds through the eCitizen portal.
According to well-placed sources within the Office of the President, KRA, Safaricom and Treasury, the company behind the portal is believed to have conspired with individuals under the task force responsible for the portal to defraud the government money generated through the system.
The individuals behind the theft are said to be led by one Justus Nyamunga who heads the Digital Payment task force established through a gazette notice number 52 of 2014.
Documents in our possession put several fictitious companies on the spot. They include Lexco Sevens, Goldrock Capital Limited, Webmasters (owned by individuals behind Lexco Sevens and Webmasters Kenya).
Kahawa Tungu also learnt that the Sh50 convenience fee was illegal; it was not gazetted as required by law.
The fee reportedly led to Pesa Pal – firm contracted to conduct the pilot and find ways of integrating the portal with a payment gateway as Webmasters Kenya didn’t have such a technology – to pull out.