Mwendwa: Pepea Card ticketing deal above board
Football Kenya Federation (FKF) boss, Nick Mwendwa insisted their deal with Kenya Commercial Bank to roll out cashless entry to stadiums for international games was ‘above board’ and there was ‘no conflict of interest’.
The football chief launched a staunch defence of the system that will see fans use the firm’s Pepea Card to access Harambee Stars games starting Friday when the Under-20 and developmental senior side face Sudan saying the federation will not turn back on the matter.
“Obviously a lot of people talk about my association with KCB and therefore, it’s very easy for someone to say Nick is picking his buddies to do this, but I’m happy things do not work this way at KCB. We are following the right process,” Mwendwa told the press on Wednesday when put to task over the deal.
The conflict of interest claims surfaced against the president who is an Information and Communications Technology (ICT) expert when it emerged he was one of the developers of the Pepea Card which clients can load money to pay for services electronically at accepting outlets.
The president noted the hefty debt his office inherited from his predecessor, Sam Nyamweya, left him with no option but to engage partners who are willing to provide services without instant pay.
“FKF is Ksh180m in debt, that means I cannot put up an Request for Proposal because I cannot pay. We therefore, had a resolution to work with a partner who understands our financial predicament as we get out of this position in the next two-three years so then we can normalize.
“On that basis then, you cannot tell people to bid because it means by public disposal act you must have the money to pay. However, there are very many other areas for example when the Government is paying for hotels, we get open bids and we select the best because it has the money.
“Last time, Kenya versus Guinea Bissau, we got a company that proposed to us to take over all matters ticketing, pay us a certain amount in advance and then collect and make their money. On that basis we selected them,” Mwendwa claimed.
“Look at the scenario we have in these four matches. The cost for ticketing on paper is about to Ksh1.6m without the operations cost. In our bank account we have zero, so we thought of the free Pepea Cards which replaces the ticket and we don’t have to pay anything for them.
“KCB is the federation’s primary bank. The way your bank gives you a loan is what they are doing to us and that’s why in this instance it is was selected with the experience they have in matters ticketing in rugby and others.”.
He expressed confidence his ICT background will help mitigate against any challenges of rolling out the cashless system.
“This is an area I understand probably better than football. We want to take lead in this and by the time we get to the Cup of Nations it will have picked up,” added the former Kariobangi Sharks FC chairman.
Kenya plays Sudan on Friday at 5pm local time (+3GMT) at Nairobi’s Nyayo Stadium, before playing Tanzania on Sunday at 4pm in a match that will be preceded by the Under 20s versus Sudan in the same venue at 1pm.
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