Safaricom sacks less staff over fraud, links trend to swift action


Safaricom chief executive Bob Collymore. PHOTO | FILE

Safaricom sacked 18 employees for fraud-related cases in the year to March 2016, a drop from the 58 fired in a similar period last year.

In the company’s latest sustainability report released Tuesday says “swift action” against fraudulent activity is in part responsible for the drop.

The drop was recorded despite the fact that the company carried out a similar number of fraud investigations in both years.

“…this trend is gratifying in as much as it suggests that the nature of fraud within the organisation may be changing from collusive behaviour of groups of people to isolated actions of individuals,” reads the report.

Safaricom carried out 27 fraud investigations into suspected cases of asset misappropriation, irregular expense claims and corruption.

Apart from the dismissals, disciplinary action was taken against 13 employees while two others are facing prosecution.

Safaricom chief executive Bob Collymore declined to elaborate on the exact nature of the cases, terming them “personal” matters.

He added that corruption continues to be one of the biggest challenges facing big corporations.

In 2012, following a scheme in which Safaricom lost nearly Sh100 million, the company engaged in court battles with its agents.

Last year, the company pulled the plug on a Sh1 billion plus tender following allegations that the awardee, Lebanese firm Mobinets SAL Ltd, had bribed its employees.

READ: Safaricom cancels Sh1bn-plus tender in staff bribery claim

On Tuesday Mr Collymore said that an ongoing audit on the company’s tendering processes by consulting firm KPMG is yet to be finalised.

Externally, the company has been battling fraud on its mobile money platform, M-Pesa. Since 2014, a unit set up with the police has been investigating suspicious activities on the platform.

The company now says that it will integrate new anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing measures into its assessment of mobile money activity.

An automated system also flags potential fraud on the network such as sending illicit bulk messages.

In 2014, a survey of mobile money agents ranked fraud and robbery among the highest risks that their businesses faced.

Financial service firms in Kenya face high risks of fraud from within their ranks. Despite this, there are usually low levels of self-reporting on fraud, especially the kind that is perpetrated by employees, as firms seek to protect their reputations.

In 2013, the Banking Fraud Investigations Department said that financial service firms were likely to under-report cases of fraud and deal with employees internally in a bid to guard their reputations.