Customer withdrawing money at a Mpesa shop.
BY SAM ALFAN.
An expose’ where two men were being probed has prompted a disgruntled Kenyan to move to court seeking clarification from Safaricom on whether Kenyans money in MPESA is safe.
The expose’ was on two county police Mr Benson Akasi alias Tall Brown and Mr Alfred Marenya alias Wasiwasi accused to be behind a spate of killings of hawkers in the city.
Mr Joseph Gitonga Kihanya and a lobby group, Uzalendo, want it established on whether PIN numbers of those with Mpesa accounts can be accessed by Safaricom staff and if money deposited by in the accounts is safe.
The suit comes after the publication of a story in which Mpesa details of ‘Tall Brown’ and ‘Wasiwasi’ was aired on TV.
According to Mr Kihanya, Safaricom customers are exposed to untold risks due to information leaked by its employees hence the need for the matter to be urgently addressed to prevent loss of monies.
He said, “I believe the accounts of Mpesa should be private, the terms and conditions say so but if the transaction can be revealed by media outlets it means strangers get to know your transactions and that anyone’s pin can also be given to people who might withdraw money without your consent.”
He wants Safaricom compelled to investigate how the information was revealed for publication and that the company be investigated too.
He also wants the two to be paid damages if found that their rights were violated following the publication.
However Safaricom claimed that information regarding the two was released after a court order was obtained on March 11 requiring the release of call data and Mpesa statements of the two so as to complete investigations on murder offenses.
The lobby has sued Safaricom, Standard Media Group, Director of Public Prosecutions, Inspector General of Police and the Attorney General.
Mr Akasi and Mr Arenya are Nairobi City askaris accused of illegally collecting millions of shillings in bribes from hawkers within Nairobi.
Through an investigative series dubbed Kanjo Kingdom, the expose showed how Wasiwasi transacted more than Sh18 million between 2013 and 2016 through his Mpesa while Brown cashed in more than Sh4.8 million in 2015 alone.
The money is believed to be proceeds from a brutal bribe-extorting cartel that preyed on hawkers and kiosk owners.
High Court judge Isaac Lenaola has directed that the case be heard on August 2 and that the two be enjoined in the suit.