Safaricom, the telecommunications company in Kenya, has been ordered by the High Court to compensate a customer with a sum of Sh452,868. The customer had fallen victim to fraudsters who hacked into his M-Shwari account. High Court Justice Asenath Ongeri upheld the decision of the Small Claims Court, stating that Safaricom was liable for the funds withdrawn from the client’s M-Pesa account after he reported his SIM card stolen.
Justice Ongeri ruled that Safaricom had breached its duty of care towards the customer, resulting in the loss of Sh452,868. The judge found Safaricom accountable for the losses suffered by the customer, as he had taken all necessary steps to block the transactions on his line.
The incident occurred when the customer, Kafwa, lost his phone on October 10, 2021. He immediately contacted Safaricom’s customer care to disable his M-Pesa account. However, he was informed that his line could not be disabled immediately due to his subscription to the “Advantage hybrid Tariff.” He was advised to visit a retail center and was also asked to obtain a police abstract.
During this time, the fraudsters accessed Kafwa’s accounts and withdrew Sh298,812 from his M-Pesa account. The following day, an additional Sh116,505 was withdrawn from his M-Shwari account. Kafwa took legal action against Safaricom, demanding a refund of Sh751,680, the total amount withdrawn from his M-Pesa account.
The Small Claims Court magistrate ruled in favor of Kafwa, holding Safaricom responsible for the loss of Sh452,868 and ordering the company to refund the amount along with the cost of the suit and interest. Dissatisfied with the ruling, Safaricom filed an appeal with the High Court.
The recent decision by the High Court affirms the initial ruling, emphasizing Safaricom’s duty of care towards its customers and holding the company liable for the losses incurred by Kafwa.