City Hall

City Hall, the Nairobi City County headquarters. No one at City Hall has ever met the owner of Nairobi Revenue Service, the firm collecting taxes on behalf of the city county. 

| File | Nation Media Group

Puzzle of mysterious firm with expired licence collecting Nairobi County’s billions

The county government has been relying on an amorphous entity known as the Nairobi Revenue Service (NRS), which is controlled by a mysterious individual, to collect its revenue despite the expiry of a service level agreement with the firm in September 2022.

Documents tabled before a county assembly ad hoc committee investigating the issue showed that the contract for NRS expired in March 2022 but was extended for a further six months to September 2022.

After the expiry of the contract in September, the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) handed over the revenue collection function to the Nairobi City County Government.

The devolved unit then opted to retain NRS as the revenue collector without any formal agreement.

It also emerged that NRS is controlled by an unknown individual while the county executive only has access rights as a user. The county can only view the revenue that is collected on a dashboard but has no control over the money.

The mysterious individual, according Smart Nairobi Chief Officer Tairus Njoroge, is a Mr Benson Njoroge, who is the system developer.

Mr Benson Njoroge was seconded to the county from the national government through the Ministry of Information and Communications Technology.

Interestingly, Mr Njoroge does not work for the ministry and no one in the county government has never met him.

Mr Tairus Njoroge, responding to questions by the committee that is led by Makongeni MCA Peter Imwatok, said the county government only contacts Mr Benson Njoroge when the system is down. He has also never met Mr Benson Njoroge in person.

The county government is also relying on two bank accounts opened by KRA where the revenue collected is deposited.

Finance Executive Charles Kerich clarified that the county government only relies on NRS for the provision of proof-of-payment services and that the platform does not handle the revenue collected on a daily basis.

“The NRS system is only used for generating invoices and receipts and updates to show that you have paid your dues. The money does not go to NRS. All the money collected go into our two bank accounts at Cooperative Bank and Equity Bank,” he said.

Mr Kerich added that City Hall is in the process of developing its own revenue collection system through a company identified as TechnoBrain.

The official could not, however, explain why the county government is still operating bank accounts opened by KRA through NRS and did not provide any proof of agreement that NRS is the principal revenue service provider for the devolved unit.

The county government also relies on Mr Benson Njoroge for the provision of access rights to the system.

The committee is investigating low revenue collection at City Hall despite the automation of 135 revenue streams.

The 13-member committee has 60 days to table its report before the county assembly.