Economy

Student in Sh24 million NCBA hack case loses M-Pesa code

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NCBA branch in Nairobi. FILE PHOTO | NMG

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Summary

  • Safaricom blocked the numbers after they used the till number to handle cash stolen from NCBA through a hacking scheme.
  • Safaricom carried out an investigation and concluded that the transactions were fraudulent.
  • It went ahead and blocked the numbers and barred him from registering any new telephone number using his details.

A university student accused of hacking into NCBA #ticker:NCBA and stealing millions using M-Pesa accounts has lost a bid to compel Safaricom to restore his blocked mobile phone and till numbers.

Justice James Makau ruled that the dispute between Anthony Mwangi Ngigge and the telecommunications company was contractual and ought to be referred to dispute resolution mechanisms before moving to court.

Safaricom #ticker:SCOM blocked the numbers after they used the till number to handle cash stolen from NCBA through a hacking scheme.

Last year, Mr Mwangi and another student were accused of stealing Sh24.4 million after hacking into the bank’s system. They were also said to have attempted to move another Sh190.7 million.

“Upon considering the pleadings and the dispute herein keenly, it is clear that the nature of the dispute herein is of a contract between the parties and not a constitutional dispute,” the Judge said.

Justice Makau said the dispute arises out of an alleged breach of contract between Mr Mwangi and Safaricom, which is merely a civil claim.

Mr Mwangi moved to court seeking to compel Safaricom to unblock his two mobile phone numbers and M-Pesa till numbers, which he uses for receiving and making payments in his online business.

He said he discovered that his mobile phone numbers had been blocked in October last year, when he went to withdraw some money. He said the action deprives him of the right to own property, without legal justification or cause.

But Safaricom through its senior legal counsel Daniel Nduba said the company received a report from NCBA of alleged fraudulent transactions involving the lender’s loop accounts and Mr Mwangi’s telephone numbers.

Safaricom carried out an investigation and concluded that the transactions were fraudulent. It went ahead and blocked the numbers and barred him from registering any new telephone number using his details.

The company also froze the M-Pesa till account, trading under a business name known as Tiindah online shop.

Safaricom further said investigations revealed that a total of Sh16.2 million had been processed from NCBA Loop Accounts through Safaricom’s M-Pesa system using 250 mobile numbers, which were all suspended.

“I find that the Petitioner ought to have challenged the same in a civil suit but not through a constitutional reference,” the judge said.