Covid-19 pandemic has affected many things. It has not spared businesses, corporates and even government institutions. This was brought to the fore when Kenya’s Ambassador to the UK HE Manoah Esipisu spoke during a townhall meeting conducted virtually, on 17th March 2021.
A few Kenyans had raised questions pertaining service delivery at Kenya High Commission in London. The Ambassador explained clearly how services at the embassy had been affected by Covid-19 pandemic. He said in some cases, the numbers to be attended had to be reduced in line with Covid-19 pandemic regulations.
Others had gone a step further and after consultation raised 17 key questions which they wanted the Kenya High Commission to address. This group was led by Lydia Tett Olet, founder of Kenya and Friends in the Park.
Others in her team were Elizabeth - Mya Chemonges-Murzynowska, a Kenyan married to a polish and working as an early years’ practitioner, founder of Wakenya in the Highlands, Scotland and Bernadetta Omondi, the Chairperson of Kenyan Community Association of Peterborugh. She is also the Chair of Peterboruogh Racial Council and was awarded one of the Census 2021 Purple Plagues in recognition of her services to her community.
Also in the group, Sally Njoki Nyinza, a community champion in Sheffield working with BAME communities with focus on EDI (Equality, Diversity and Inclusion) and Suleiman Kisimbi, an IT specialist, Systems Engineer who specializes on service delivery and infrastructure implementation.
This group was not disappointed as all their questions were answered. The Kenya High Commission Team took extra time to give Kenyans the chance to ask questions. Some of the questions asked and answered from Lydia Olet team are below:
Question: If you have had your biometrics taken in 2020 and they are in the system, why do we need to get them taken again to renew a passport? Are they not saved in the database?
Answer: These are not connected for now but in the future this is something they are looking into. But for now it is not possible.
Question: Can a UK or diaspora mobile number be added to e-citizen portal to allow people to register when opening an account? At present you only need a Kenyan number which is hard if you are in the diaspora and do not have a Kenyan sim card. You have to go home (Kenya) to get a sim card as there are no provisions to obtain a Kenyan sim in the UK.
Answer: There is no need for that. You can use your UK number.
Question: Can you renew an expired passport without a Kenyan ID card and with just the passport number no physical passport?
Answer: No You need your ID
Question: How can you book an appointment for biometrics to be taken when the Kenyan office in the UK is not listed and remains closed?
Answer - The KHC is an arm of government therefore it is mandated. Asking questions by Kenyans was the best thing to do for its always good to make informed decision. As well when things change, questions and answer can only improve understanding. Hence, it was great to see Kenya High Commission in London dedicate time to address all the issues raised promising to do better.
More questions and answers during that meeting which will be posted on Sauti ya Mwananchi facebook page. To know more about services offered by Kenya High Commission in London, visit www.kenyahighcom.org.uk
South Sudan president Salva Kiir Mayardit at the signing ceremony of the final Sudanese peace agreement. Photo SUNA
JUBA – South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir Mayardit will on Thursday be awarded a prize for responsible leadership and his efforts to consolidate peace in the world’s by a continental journalist body.
Speaking during a press conference held in Juba on Wednesday, Abu Bakr Abdullahi Bargo, the chairperson of Union of African Private Televisions said a ceremony will take place tomorrow to award President Salva Kiir for his extraordinary leadership qualities he said he has been shown including but not limited to achieving peace in the world’s youngest country.
“We come here to award the leader of the country,” Abu Bakr said. “Tomorrow by the will of God, we will award President Salva Kiir Mayardit for achieving peace and showing quality leadership.”
The Union of African Private Televisions is a body comprising 63 television stations across 22 countries in Africa. - Sudans Post
Johnson Kigundu was committed to 180 days civil jail. Photo Courtesy
A businessman has been jailed for six months for failing to pay Sh11.9 million to a car dealer in a land dispute.
Johnson Kigundu was committed to 180 days of civil jail on March 18, after he failed to obey a decree to pay the money to A-Plus Motors.
A-Plus Motors managing director James Mwangi Muturi sued Kigundu at the Environment and Lands Court for Sh5.3 million land fraud.
In court documents, Muturi says he entered into a land sale agreement with Kigundu on or about 16 November 2016. The property is situated in Thome, Nairobi county.
The sale price was Sh34 million and Muturi paid Sh3.4 million as the 10 per cent deposit.
The rest of the money was to be financed by Spire Bank where A-Plus Motors runs an account.
Kigundu requested for an additional deposit on the sale price. Muturi paid the money totalling Sh5.3 million.
A-Plus Motors says the bank asked Kigundu for previous transfer records to ascertain that he was the registered proprietor of the land.
They also sought stamp duty payment receipt for transfer in Kigundu's favour.
Kigundu delayed forwarding the documents and the bank’s director met him to discuss the matter.
He told the manager that he had not paid stamp duty on the transfer in his favour and he did not have the documents requested.
Thereafter, Kigundu became evasive and could not be reached.
“The plaintiff failed, neglected or refused to avail the said documents which led to the transaction failing to materialise as his purported registration as the owner of the property came into serious doubt,” court documents say.
A-Plus Motors sought Sh5.3 million plus interest from the date of payment to the date of full reimbursement and Sh3.4 million being the 10 per cent damages payable for breach of contract.
The judgment delivered on May 29, 2019 was entered in favour of the motor company.
Kigundu was ordered to pay Sh8.7 million plus interest and costs. - Carolyne Kubwa, The Star
With the advent and the advancement of technology and e-commerce around the globe, the flexibility and ease of both digital and mobile payment systems have created a revolution that provides consumers with many ways for both buyers and sellers to access their money without much struggle. In the recent past, many people have been subjected to waiting for long before their turn to get services, but thanks to this technology, they can now do it at the comfort of their homes by tapping a button.
For millions of Kenyan citizens, mobile phones serve as their banks while others as their mobile offices. Most citizens keep a good amount of their money and savings in their mobile money accounts, while others keep their work-related and personal or official or business files and other important documents in their mobile phones to ease access from anywhere anytime.
However, this has proved not the best way of securing one’s money. The rise of mobile commerce and money transactions has given a loophole to fraudsters to launch their newly invented tricks, which have always enabled them to hack into unsuspecting people’s mobile money accounts and end up vanishing into the thin air with all their hard-earned cash.
Some even masquerade as customer care agents and make calls to unsuspecting mobile money account users who end up relinquishing their personal details unknowingly and eventually lose all their data, money, mobile phones, sim cards, or all. Sammy Gitonga, a Nairobi resident, speaking to IEA News, says that unknown callers masquerading as customer care agents called him to “help” sort out a problem with the registration of his line, only to end up confusing him, and eventually stealing all his money from his mobile savings.
“The next minute, when I checked my MPESA account balance, I was shocked to find it nil, it even had a Fuliza (an MPESA overdraft) of an amount of money I toiled for so long to settle….” he recalls. Taslim Karid says she is not Kenyan, but unknowingly fell for these cheap cons. Taslim recalls receiving a text message on a Sunday morning asking her to provide some details to “properly” register her sim card.
“I ended up being confused by the caller, but as I had not made any request for a new card, and reckoning that a moment earlier, the person posing on the other end as a customer service agent had terminated a call. I then realized that it was a call from a fraudster, but unfortunately, it was too late, as I had already given out most of my details. My account, with tens of thousands, was swept clean, and loans requested via my line, which I haven’t been able to settle until now” she says.
"It was a brief call that did not even last a minute. I did not give any of my details, but funny enough my sim was swapped minutes afterward." Joseph Wambui narrates to IEA Media, adding that he almost fell a victim right then, as his sim card lost memory after disconnecting a call from who he suspected was a fraudster.
“I immediately contacted Safaricom, the mobile service provider, to report the issue as I raised brows that someone had attempted fraud on his number, but despite not giving out his details, his sim was still swapped but his money was still intact in his account as he had just deposited hours before the call.”
Consequently, many Kenyan entrepreneurs and stakeholders in different business sectors are resolving not to use electronic and cashless systems like MPESA, as advised by Kenya’s Ministry of Health, as one of the safest methods of money-handling, amongst other measures recommended for use to contain the deadly COVID-19 virus.
Safaricom recently joined hands with Kenya’s public transport stakeholders to facilitate a cashless payment system through M-PESA to curb the spread of Covid-19, an initiative that saw over 500 PSV vehicles give in to the mobile money service, thus helping them together with other measures put in place, to combat the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Some stakeholders in the transport sector have said they are skeptical and a bit hesitant to use M-PESA to receive payments in form of fares since some passengers have proved to be untrustworthy. For instance, matatu operators in Nairobi have lodged complaints to the mobile service providers that some passengers have always reversed transactions in the form of the fares paid through electronic mobile money transfer systems during their journey.
These passengers diligently pay their fares through the right channels provided, but upon alighting from the vehicle they immediately reverse the transaction, thus leading them to losses. Silvanus Odoyo, a tout who works at City Star Shuttle told IEA News that he recently lost over Sh4,000 in one week, which was a total of money reversed from his account.
“I will no longer continue using MPESA services in my work because my boss has deducted a lot of money from my daily wage” laments Odoyo. “I resolved that I will not allow my passengers to do any cashless payments, especially of their fare with M-pesa, I have learnt the hard way after I lost all that money. The best way to do it, I have asked the boss to help us acquire a paybill number so that we do not frequently lose money again,” he says.
This trend has also left the transport systems in Kenya almost paralyzed as the stakeholders now complain that Kenyans, especially passengers in Nairobi have a tendency of reversing transactions after they pay their fare. Kenya’s mobile money and telephone service providers have also reported a rampant increase in the number of instances and incidences of mobile money fraud, especially reversals, which are rampantly on the rise. Tyrus Kamau, an information security consultant says that there is now a great concern about the fast proliferation of technology in Kenya.
To curb this, most matatus plying through the Nairobi metropolis, after a joint consultation, have come up with a Safaricom MPESA paybill system, where their passengers can book for matatu seat, pay and wait at the stage. “We have systems like NFC, which we are soon putting into place for matatus, taxis, businesses to use. All other entities with strong vulnerabilities can also use this system, beginning with banks and other merchants.” Says Kamau.
Kenya is one of the growing states that has strived to adopt technology, including mobile money transfer. Kamau adds that this has helped the nation to ease the stress and struggle of getting to a bank or carrying cash, but on the other hand, this has widened the loop for cybercriminals, who have now turned their attention and are now routinely targeting payment systems and mobile money accounts belonging to unsuspecting owners.
Responding to these claims and complaints, Sarah Muturi, a Safaricom dealer, to enlighten the public, told IEA News that before any disputed transaction is reversed, the service provider contacts the recipient to confirm the authenticity of the said transaction. “...if, and when called severally and still do not respond, the money is automatically reversed to the sender’s account.” She said.
The Kenya government recently installed the Computer Abuse and Cyber Crimes Act, 2018, a clause which states that failure to reverse an erroneous mobile transaction may earn Kenyans a fine worth Sh200,000 or a two-year jail term, or both. Ironically, this has raised fear in many Kenyans who end up accepting the reversal of rightful transactions for fear of the above penalty and thus lose their money.
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