Nairobi News

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Safaricom denies leaking M-Pesa details of City askaris

Safaricom has told a Nairobi court that police furnished it with a court order compelling it to reveal mobile money transactions of two City Hall officers who are now seeking compensation after their account balances were published in a local newspaper story.

Safaricom says police detective Judith Tuwei served it with the court order issued by a Nairobi Chief Magistrate’s Court allowing her to obtain M-Pesa account details and call records relating to phone numbers owned by City Hall’s Alfred Marenya and Benson Ambani.

Mr Marenya and Mr Ambani want the High Court to compensate them following the release of their M-Pesa details in an article that appeared in The Nairobian, a weekly.

In the article, the two were said to have transacted Sh18 million through M-Pesa.

M-PESA RECORDS LEAKED

The two claim in their petition that their M-Pesa records were leaked to Africa Uncensored journalist John-Allan Namu whose story focused on a multimillion-shilling extortion ring run by City Hall officers.

The Nairobian and local TV station KTN ran the story after obtaining it from Africa Uncensored.

But Safaricom now says the M-Pesa records were not leaked by its employees, but were given to the police who were investigating the murder of a hawker that was connected to the extortion ring.

“The said court order authorised Safaricom’s liaison officer to provide requisite data and M-Pesa statements for the period running from January 1, 2013 to January 31, 2016 to enable Sergeant Judith Tuwei to complete her investigations into the offence of murder,” says Safaricom’s law enforcement senior manager Weldon Siongok.

The suit was initially filed on behalf of the two City Hall officers by Joseph Kihanya, who only describes himself as a Safaricom customer.

NOT LIABLE

Safaricom adds that it had no role in the publication hence cannot be held liable for any damages caused by the story.

Mr Ambani and Mr Marenya claim that their M-Pesa PINs may have been leaked to unknown persons alongside their account details and fear that their current balances may be withdrawn without their knowledge.

But Safaricom insists that they have not provided any evidence to prove the claims.

“Safaricom had no role in Standard Group’s impugned publication that revealed confidential information relating to the M-Pesa accounts of Mr Marenya and Mr Ambani.

The Standard Group in its response holds that it cannot be put to task for the disputed story, as the article is owned by Africa Uncensored.

Mr Ambani and Mr Marenya have been charged in court alongside other City Hall officers—Julius Ochieng and Protus Sarara—with the murder of hawker Irungu Kamau. They have denied the charges.