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City Hall decision to suspend seasonal parking payment through JamboPay raises eyebrows

Nairobi County executive has been put on the spot over a decision to suspend the payment of seasonal parking through JamboPay while their contract with the online payment firm is still running.

Members of Nairobi County Assembly raised concerns on the move by the county’s parking department to revert to manual payment system while they have a firm contracted to do the collections.

The MCAs questioned why the department instructed matatu saccos operating in the capital city to use direct banking services which was more prone to revenue loss instead of the automated system.

The committee read mischief in the move by the executive to only target the revenue stream, which is one of the top earners for the county, while the rest are made through the JamboPay system.

The move, they said, has led to the city county government losing millions of shillings in seasonal parking fees revenue.

“We don’t understand why your department would choose to go the direct banking route whereas you know that we have an agreement with JamboPay and your actions could lead to a breach of contract,” said Patrick Karani on Tuesday.

It was revealed before the County Assembly’s Budget and Appropriations committee, led by Kariobangi South MCA Robert Mbatia, that on December 24, 2018, director of Parking Services Tom Tinega directed, in writing, that all the 397 matatu saccos in Nairobi stop paying for seasonal parking ticket through JamboPay and instead resort to banking the money directly to county bank accounts.

Further, it was revealed that the decision was not authorised by Transport executive Mohammed Dagane, acting County Secretary Pauline Kahiga or by the Transport and Infrastructure chief officer Engineer Fredrick Karanja – three individuals mandated by law to make such a policy-changes.

Nonetheless, Mr Tinega, in his defence, said that the directive was aimed at making it easier for the parking department to reconcile payment records and also curb fake payments made by the matatu saccos.

He added that they also wanted to know how much money the county government collects from seasonal parking tickets as well as make sure that all the payments made are genuine.

The director stated that since the coming into effect of the directive, revenue from the stream had shot up by Sh5 million for the first month and Sh17 million in the second month.

“In the past, we have had people fake payment receipts only for us to later learn that the money does not reflect in our systems. There are currently numerous cases in court involving fake seasonal parking payments made to City Hall,” said Mr Tinega.

But when pressed by Mr Mbatia to explain why the department had only suspended the seasonal parking revenue stream and other related streams such as off-street or daily parking, Mr Tinega was unable to offer any substantive explanation.