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Fraud

Shadowy Goldrock Capital at the center of e-Citizen’s looting

If you search Goldrock Capital from the Registrar of Companies, you wouldn’t find it.

In fact, the CR12 wouldn’t show up; but it is a Kenyan company tasked with collecting billions from e-Citizen portal fees.

According to sources, the firm is owned by a plethora of cartels from across govt and private sector.

It is the same inspiration to the second article in the series Transcend Vs Safaricom.

Peter Ndegwa, CEO, Safaricom Plc

It is clear Goldrock Capital is owned by Safaricom’s top managers (not the current CEO Peter Ndegwa) and National Treasury officials (not the current CS Prof Njuguna Ndun’u).

Goldrock Capital is owned by proxy, registered outside the country, it’s only association is Webmasters Kenya; the e-Citizen portal developer.

After the creation of the e-Citizen portal, Webmasters Kenya collaborated with its sister company, Webmasters Africa, to sub-contract the registration and funds management to Goldrock, which registered the paybill numbers on November 14, 2014.

The paybill numbers is 206206, the universal account number across all telcos.

Webmasters also registered 206 USSD short code and a 22206 text message shortcode.

An Audit by KCB Bank later revealed that the collection of revenues from the e-Citizen portal was being done illegally.

Treasury’s orders had stemmed from an audit it started conducting on December 16, 2015. It had tasked its chief internal auditor, Mr Willis Odhiambo Okwacho, with investigating whether the eCitizen portal was working efficiently, economically and in line with Kenya’s laws, the Nation Africa writes.

CAPTION: Former Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich (right) and his then Principal Secretary Kamau Thugge at a Milimani court in Nairobi on July 23, 2019. Kamau Thugge is currently the economic advisor in the Ruto-Gachagua regime.

Mr Okwacho’s findings were interesting, to say the least because they determined that eCitizen was partly operating outside the law.

Auditors could not find any contracts between the government and Goldrock relating to the collection or management of funds paid by eCitizen users, which to them meant a private firm was illegally collecting money on behalf of the government.

The team also concluded that Safaricom irregularly allowed Goldrock to register the 206206 paybill number in its own name, without any supporting authorisation from Treasury as required by law.

Further, it found that Goldrock had registered a second paybill number, 903550, which had become a backdoor to access the official virtual wallet that was receiving billions from eCitizen users. The 903550 paybill had been named Mkwanja during registration.

CAPTION: Former Lands CS Farida Karoney stopped payment of land fees and processing through the e-Citizen portal in 2018

While the audit insinuated that there may have been some irregular behaviour on Safaricom’s part, the telco indicates in court papers that Goldrock duped it into linking the two paybill numbers.

Safaricom says in an affidavit that Goldrock first registered the 903550 paybill in March 2013, and listed it as an account for a digital lender. On November 3, 2015, Goldrock successfully applied to Safaricom to have the two paybill numbers linked to allow flow of funds to and from both accounts.

READ: Transcend Saga: Safaricom multi-billionaire staff and their subversion of justice

After the linking of the accounts, Goldrock would separate the Sh50 convenience fee paid by eCitizen users from the amounts charged for each service by transferring funds from the 206206 paybill to its Mkwanja paybill 903550.

The tug of war pitting the Head of Public Service against Treasury over Goldrock seemed to continue until April 29, 2017, when Safaricom locked the private firm out of the eCitizen paybill account. Safaricom also terminated Goldrock’s 903550 paybill number, and Treasury had seemingly won the tug of war.

Rita Okuthe, former Safaricom CHIEF enterprise business officer. She left the firm in 2020

At the time of Treasury’s instructions, there was Sh127.8 million that had been collected through the 206206 paybill number and Goldrock was laying claim to it. The firm sued the Treasury, Attorney-General, Webmasters Kenya and Webmasters Africa seeking Sh127.8 million, and compensation for illegal contract termination if it was not to get back control of the paybill number.

Goldrock, in court papers, says it was to help account for all funds paid. The convenience fee would then be paid to Webmasters Africa. Goldrock was entitled to 20 per cent of the convenience fee. In total, Goldrock collected Sh376.018 million in convenience fees, meaning it was entitled to Sh75.2 million. Webmasters Africa pocketed the remaining Sh300.814 million.

Webmasters Africa CEO James Ayugi holds that there is still Sh29,024,525 that Goldrock failed to remit, hence it has no further claim against any of the parties before the court.

While Goldrock and Webmasters are on opposite sides of the fence in the court case, they both argue that the convenience fee is not part of government revenue. They differ on which of them is entitled to the Sh127.8 million convenience fee that had been collected when the government instructed Safaricom to lock Goldrock out.

CAPTION: Former DCI Boss George Kinoti. His men staged a PR show, or they were real in their investigations but were stopped in their tracks.

Mr Ayugi argues that there were several other companies involved in the payment aggregation process and they were to be paid from convenience fees charged to eCitizen users.

The Webmasters companies are owned by Mr Ayugi, Goldrock owner and CEO Sidney Ngunyi Wachira, James Kiarie Gachiu, Joash Samwel Gomba, Deric Ogare Onyango, Thomas Isaac Juma, Robert Obel, Charles Karuri, Kennedy Oduor Oketch and Lexco Seven Ltd.

Mr Wachira and Mr Gachiu also co-own Lexco Seven Ltd, which means he has a significant stake in Webmasters Africa directly and by proxy.

And by extension, Mr Wachira has his feet in both the plaintiff and one of the respondents at the same time.

Big men

Despite the DCI starting investigations into the looting of e-Citizen’s, the truth of the matter the agency didn’t move a dint.

It was all PR for the media and investors as Webmasters and in extension Goldrock Capital continued collecting fees from the portal.

e-citizen

In 2014, by the time the govt asked Safaricom, the service provider, to stop Goldrock Capital from collecting the money, more than Sh5.6 billion had been paid through the e-Citizen portal.

The fees ended up not at National Treasury but in individuals’ pockets.

Those individuals are billionaires who can subvert any laws and create an atmosphere of injustice.


Would you like to get published on this Popular Blog? You can now email Cyprian Nyakundi any breaking news, Exposes, story ideas, human interest articles or interesting videos on: [email protected] Videos and pictures can be sent to +254 710 280 973 on WhatsApp, Signal and Telegram.


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