20 March 2018

Kenya: Safaricom Allowed to File Response in e-Citizen Dispute

Mobile phone service provider Safaricom, and a firm that developed the e-citizen platform have been allowed to defend themselves against claims raised by a company that had been contracted to collect money raised through the platform.

Goldrock Capital Ltd is claiming Sh127,850,950 for its part in the eCitizen contract.

High Court Judge Fred Ochieng however says some of the statements that Goldrock has filed in court need to be argued out to determine their legitimacy.

Goldrock had initially obtained a court judgment allowing it to access the cash that it had collected before being locked out of the M-Pesa Paybill account in April, 2017. The judgment had been entered against Safaricom, Webmasters Kenya Ltd, and Webmasters Africa Ltd, which had failed to defend the case against them.

"I set aside the judgment because the defences proposed by the defendants give rise to triable issues," ruled Justice Ochieng.

Goldrock has sued the Treasury, Webmasters Africa, and Webmasters Kenya, which developed eCitizen portal, for denying it access to the website's mobile money (M-Pesa) paybill number that receives millions of shillings daily from Kenyans seeking government services.

eCitizen is an online portal through which the government provides essential services such as applications for passports, driving licences, business registration certificates, vehicle logbooks and title deeds.

Goldrock has since 2014 collected over Sh5.6 billion under the eCitizen platform.

Justice Ochieng noted that among the issues that need to be addressed is the question regarding the legitimacy of Goldrock's role in the collection of revenue for the government.

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