A human rights activist Monday moved to court challenging the directive by President William Ruto to have all government services make payments through one digital payment.
He argued the directive is unconstitutional.
In an application filed in court by Professor Fredrick Ogola said Ruto’s unilateral and arbitrary direction on the closure of all government digital payments so as to allow the on-boarding of all government services, national and County, into one digital payment platform is contrary to public finance management.
The directive takes effect from September 30, 2023.
Ogola said there is not in force any framework for managing the proposed single digital payment platform and there has not been any public participation in formulating the single digital payment platform.
“The centralization of all national and county government payment into a single one is contrary to the the spirit of devolution as it does not promote distinctiveness of National and county level governments,” he said in court documents.
He added besides the illegalities in the whole matter, it is concerned that the President is the supplier of the platform where these payments will be taking place hence its for Personal benefits just like other platforms such as Hustler fund.
Ogola wants court to declare that the directive to on-board government services to a single Digital Payment Platform of Paybill Number 222222 on eCitizen.go.ke as conveyed in Gazette Vol. CXXIV-No. 287 Gazette Notice No. 16008 and published on the 30th of December 2022 in the absence of public participation is in violation of Articles 201(a) as read together with Articles 10(1), 2(a) and therefore unlawful and unconstitutional.
“A declaration that the directive to on-board government services to a single Digital Payment Platform of Paybill Number 222222 on eCitizen.go.ke as conveyed in Gazette Vol. CXXIV-No. 287 Gazette Notice No. 16008 and published on the 30th of December 2022 in the absence of a management framework is in violation of Article 201 (a) of the Constitution as read together with section 29(1) of the Public Finance,” he states in the documents.
Ogola added that as a lobby group, they are also concerned about the 237 businesses that will close and 74,237 jobs that will be lost doing this hard economic times for when other payment gateways will be shut down in favour of his payment gateway.
High court judge Hedwig Ong’udi directed the lobby group to serve the Attorney general, Treasury and ICT ministry.
The judge certified the matter as urgent and ordered that the petition be served on the respondents.
The Attorney General’s office, Treasury and ministry of ICT will respond by August 29, 2023.
The matter will be mentioned on September 4 for compliance.
In June this year President Ruto directed state agencies to shut down multiple paybill numbers to allow Kenyans pay for services using a single channel.
According to Ruto, the move is aimed at centralizing payment of government services and increasing accountability.
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