In 2014, eCitizen, an online portal on which an initial 10 government institutions would offer their services to the public went live.
The government had sourced funding from International Finance Corporation (IFC), the World Bank’s lending agency when it hired Webmasters Kenya to develop the platform.
Webmasters Kenya later subcontracted its sister companies, Webmasters Africa and Goldrock Capital to collect from the online platform.
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This came months before the government through the National Treasury wrote to Safaricom asking the company to stop Goldrock from handling cash from eCitizen.
Here is what WoK managed to gather about the companies and it’s owners.
Webmasters Kenya was contracted by the government to build eCitizen, the portal which the government provides essential services such as applications for passports, driving licences, business registration certificates, vehicle logbooks and title deeds.
The firm was also hired to register mobile money wallets with 206206 as the universal account number across all telcos, a 206 USSD short code and a 22206 text message shortcode, Nation reported.
It was here when the firm incorporated its sister companies; Webmasters Africa and Goldrock Capital.
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A quick look at the company’s website shows that the firm is a Nairobi-based firm offering integrated IT solutions and services to organizations in Kenya.
Their services include email marketing, bulk sms marketing, website designing, website domain registration and hosting, installation and maintenance among others.
James Ayugi is the founder and CEO of Webmasters Kenya.
While Kenyans enjoyed seamless services on the portal, money paid was was held by an M-PESA Paybill account set up by Webmasters Kenya via Goldrock Capital.
Goldrock collected money from the platform and by the time the government asked Safaricom to suspend the Paybill, the firm had collected over Ksh 5.6 billion.
After the battle of controlling millions coming in through the portal headed to court, it emerged that Goldrock and Webmasters Africa share directorship.
Goldrock Capital is owned by Sydney Ngunyi Wachira who appears to be a director at Webmasters Africa which was also subcontracted to collect eCitizen funds.
Webmasters Africa is said to have approached Goldrock Capital with the funds collection proposal. It was then when Goldrock set up the M-PESA Paybill which held the Ksh 5.6 billion.
In April 2019, the National Treasury ordered Safaricom to lock Goldrock out of the Paybill number and ordered the firm to surrender all relevant documents relating to the account.
This is even as Webmasters Africa and Goldrock Capital moved to court demanding access to the Paybill account.