NAIROBI Kenya, Jun 25 – The County government of Narok has terminated a contract with Equity Bank to collect revenue in the world famous Maasai Mara Game Reserve.
Narok Governor Samuel Tunai says the county has made the necessary arrangements to take over the responsibility of collecting the revenue with immediate effect.
The Narok County Council had agreed with Equity Bank in April 2011 to provide the Pre-Paid Smart-Card service to enhance its revenue collection efficiency at the game reserve.
Tunai said the deal was costing the county millions of shillings that could have been collected as revenue.
The deal had mandated Equity to provide the core platform on which the system will operate, procure the smart-cards and date preparation and personalisation of the smart-cards.
Also the bank was to equip point of sale terminals at each entry point and head office to read the smart-cards and record deduction of the relevant fees payable by the users.
“With efficiency to service delivery being very core to this agreement, the bank undertook to ensure that any malfunctioning of the system is rectified in the shortest time possible,” Tunai said.
However, he said, “sometime in April 2013 the County Government noted that the pre-paid smart-card service was not working. We therefore made several reports directly to the bank detailing the incidences in respect of the system malfunctioning which by its nature required immediate and prompt rectification.”
“The bank not only failed to respond but even when it did, its explanation was shifty ranging from malfunctioning of the system to an error embedded in the smart cards.”
The governor says that the county has suffered enormous loses and the reputation of Maasai Mara as a tourist attraction is taking a massive beating.
“The entire tourist industry is up in arms and the residents of Narok County as well as its leadership cannot possibly let its only secure source of revenue be obliterated.”
He said that the bank had fundamentally breached the agreement by failing to provide pre-paid smart-card service as contracted.
“This is causing a lot of inconveniences to tourists visiting the Maasai Mara and that affects the tourism industry in the country as a whole,” he noted.
Acting within its rights under the Agreement, the County Government issued a 14 days notice to terminate the agreement unless the breach was rectified.
The 14 days expired at midnight on Monday (June 24th) which effectively brings to an end the contractual rights and obligations contained in the agreement with the bank.
The Narok County Government has instructed its lawyers to ensure that the bank is held accountable for its actions and says it will embark on a comprehensive audit of the integrity of the entire Pre-Paid Smart Card System from inception to date.