Lobby fights Ruto's single paybill number in court

 President William Ruto. [PCS]

A lobby group has filed a petition in court seeking to stop the government’s intention to make all payments through a single paybill number.

A few weeks ago, President William Ruto gave State agencies weeks to make the migration to onboarding of all government services onto the e-Citizen online platform by the end of September.

Currently, several multiple paybill numbers are used to make payments for services. Dr Ruto said the onboarding is aimed at centralising payment of government services while increasing accountability through paybill number 222222.

But Operation Linda Ugatuzi has opposed the move, arguing that the government has not clearly defined the framework anchoring a single payment platform.

“We are seeking the court to squash President William Rutos' unilateral and arbitrary direction on the closure of all government digital payments allowing onboarding of all government services contrary to the Public Finance Management Act,” said the lobby’s chairperson Fred Ogola.

In court papers, the lobby claims the President is an interested party since he is set to personally benefit through the single payment channel.

“Besides the illegalities in the matter, we are concerned that the President is the supplier of the platform where these payments will be taking place hence it is for his personal benefit just like the hustler fund initiative,” claims the activist.

Ogola alleges that the Head of State wants to use the platform to control counties and agencies by stripping them of the power to monitor the collection of money.

“With money comes everything and the President has control over the military, police, State House and now he wants to control all the money for himself,” said Ogolla.

Ogolla expressed fears that should the migration be effected, several businesses dealing with online payments will shut down, resulting in unemployment.

“We are concerned that about 237 businesses that have been running all these payment platforms across the country will be closed down, resulting in job losses,” stated Ogolla yesterday.

High Court Judge Hedwig Ong'udi certified the matter as urgent and set the hearing on September 4. Attorney General, Treasury and ICT ministries are required to file their responses by next Monday.