- Frida Wangechi, an Equity Bank official, has charged an M-Pesa agent, Elizabeth Wanjiru, with intentionally withholding electronic payment against the law in Kenya.
- She allegedly refused to return KSh392,000 ($2,442) that Wangechi had mistakenly sent to her M-Pesa agent account.
- Wangechi claims she deposited KSh784,000 ($4,824) instead of KSh392,000 ($2,442) into the accused M-Pesa agent account as working capital (float) in a double transaction.
Appearing before Chief Magistrate Tito Gesora of the Makadara Law Courts, the accused denied the charges and has been released on KSh100,000 ($615) cash bail.
However, the case will be mentioned in April, pending a commencement trial on July 8.
When the reversal failed at the time of the incident, the accused was instructed not to withdraw the money.
Nonetheless, Safaricom informed Equity officials that Wanjiru's account was empty when they attempted to perform a reversal. Following this, Wanjiru allegedly switched off her phone.
According to a report, CCTV footage from the incident shows Wangechi attending to Wanjiru, and the bank statement shows the suspect withdrew only Sh392,000; both are listed as exhibits in the case.
Court witnesses to the case include Wangechi and her senior colleague.
M-Pesa agents act as middlemen between customers and the M-Pesa system, facilitating cash deposits, withdrawals, and transfers. They can be small business owners, shopkeepers, or individuals authorised to provide these services.
M-Pesa, a digital payment solution owned by Safaricom, is one of Kenya's most popular payment options, serving over 30 million Kenyans.
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Vodafone and Safaricom launched M-PESA in 2007, and it has since expanded to Tanzania, the DR Congo, Egypt, South Africa, Ghana, Mozambique, and Lesotho.
Safaricom's M-Pesa dominates the Kenyan mobile money market, with Airtel Money and Orange Money trailing close behind. These companies help fuel Kenya's mobile money market, which is projected to grow from $133 billion in 2023 to $641 billion by 2032.