MPs root for review of e-ticketing deal between Equity and council
Posted Monday, July 16 2012 at 21:35
The 10-year contract between Narok County Council and Equity Bank for electronic ticketing at the Maasai Mara Game Reserve is likely to be renegotiated in April next year.
The Local Authorities Committee of Parliament has recommended that the issue of park fees collection be sorted out by the new county government to protect the council from revenue losses.
The team, chaired by Kinangop MP David Ngugi, said the council should enter into a new agreement with the bank once the two-year window for review expires in April. The deal allows the bank to charge commissions on the annual park collection fees.
Auditor-General Richard Ouko, in a special audit, recommended that the contract be reviewed to ensure that the bank charges the council a commission for collections, without setting a thresholds.
“This is a more equitable and fair basis considering other factors that may affect the flow of tourists to Maasai Mara Park such as marketing and geo-global politics, which have not been factored in the contract document,” said Mr Ouko in the audit ordered by Parliament.
An MP who did not wish to be named because the report is yet to be tabled in the House, told the Business Daily that committee members were of the view that the new county administration should enter into negotiations with the bank to get a fairer deal.
“The window that is in the contract, that a review be done after two years, will present a perfect opportunity for the new county head to renegotiate the deal,” said the MP.
The committee investigated the automation of the game reserve after Narok South MP Nkoidila ole Lankas questioned Equity’s involvement in the collection of council revenues.
Mr Lankas has insisted that the bank was only required to install and commission the e-ticketing system.
After a forensic audit on the deal, Mr Ouko returned a verdict that the bank did not disclose, in its financial proposals for the automation of Maasai Mara, information on the commission to be charged and the duration of the contract.
“The period was not included in the financial proposals but was introduced midstream. This has far-reaching financial implications on the council,” Mr Ouko said.
However, he added that procurement procedures were followed, and that the system helped to improve revenue collection because the council had collected Sh186 million more in the nine months to March than it did in the previous 12 months.
Equity signed the deal with the council to offer a 10-year contract based on revenue collection through a smart card system.
The fee was to be seven per cent for the first four years, reducing to six per cent for the next three years and five per cent for the last three.