High Court has ordered Safaricom, one of the country’s leading telecommunications firms, and the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) to suspend the reintroduction of bank-to-MPesa charges pending the determination of a suit involving financial consumer rights.
The interim order was issued by High Court judge Mugure Thande in a petition filed by Nairobi resident Moses Wafula, who claims that the charges should not be passed on to consumers.
The order effectively stops the reintroduction of charges between mobile money wallets and bank transactions as advanced by the CBK through a press release issued on December 6, 2022.
Wafula argued that his rights and those of other members of the public have been violated, infringed, and continue to be threatened by the giant telecommunication firm and the government of Kenya in view of the directive issued by the CBK.
He argues that it is in contravention of the law for the banks to continue using the MPesa Paybill infrastructure and making money from members of the public.
According to him, charges incurred in MPesa Paybill services are to be paid for by Safaricom’s primary clients such as banks and not the consumers.
The charges were waived on March 16, 2020, as part of the emergency measures to facilitate the use of mobile money at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic.
However, after the CBK notice on the return of the charges, respective payment service providers and banks announced revised transaction charges before January 1, 2023.
Wafula has asked the court to put brakes on the charges, arguing that should the court find that the MPesa Paybill charges are illegal, more funds from the members of the public will have been lost, and it may be difficult to ask the banks to refund the same.
The case will be mentioned on January 23, 2023.