Zuku parent firm in customer payments row with Cellulant

A Zuku sign outside its office. FILE PHOTO |
A Zuku sign outside its office. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Wananchi Group Kenya, the owners of Zuku pay television and Internet provider, has sued digital payments service company Cellulant Kenya claiming remittance of customer payments amounting to millions of shillings.

Wananchi Group says it appointed the firm as its agent to collect money from its clients in 2013, but that the firm has defaulted on remittances with the arrears topping Sh30.4 million as at May.

But Cellulant in its response has asked the court to refer the matter to a tribunal, noting that the agreement between the two firms provides for disputes to be resolved through arbitration.

Cellulant says there is, among other issues, a disagreement on who should bear tax liability.

“The plaintiff prays for judgment against the defendant,” says Wananchi in court papers.

The firm claims Cellulant admitted the outstanding amount and allegedly proposed to settle it by end of April, an agreement which it claims it has failed to honour.

But Cellulant in documents filed on its behalf by the law firm of Iseme, Kamau and Maema has termed the petition an abuse of the court process since the contract provides for arbitration that is legally binding and final.

Cellulant further claims that Wananchi terminated the contract despite an ongoing reconciliation of the actual sum due.

The firm in a letter to Wanachi informed it that the outstanding amount was Sh29 million as at May 18.

Cellulant further indicated that there was discrepancy with regard to VAT, and who should bear the tax.

The firm further requested to be given until August to regularise its accounts, noting that it was waiting for capital injection of Sh4.8 billion from an investor.

Cellulant sold a stake to US-based social impact investment firm The Rise Fund, in a deal billed as one of the largest by a Kenyan fintech company.