Safaricom will have to temporarily switch off a Simcard that was supposedly registered by a woman that now denies any knowledge of the contact.

The order came from a Mombasa court after an application was filed by Eunice Wanjiru Mburu who found herself blacklisted by CRB, denying her access to loans by financial institutions. Mburu maintained that her ID card and other personal details were in the registration of a number not in her possession.

As reported by The Star, On June 7, the court directed that the mobile number in dispute remain switched off until the matter is determined in court. In her suit application, Mburu wanted Safaricom PLC and Metropol Credit Bureau to compensate her for general damages.

According to Mburu, she only learnt of her status from her employer, CRB and Family Bank; she also learnt that the Sim card had been used to defraud members of the public several times.

When Mburu approached her employer, a bank,  for a loan to facilitate health insurance for her child and boost her business, the request was declined when she was duly informed that she was in the CRB list and defaulted a loan by Family Bank’s PesaPap.

The loan now stood at Ksh 5, 386 having accrued from Ksh. 4500 and Mburu had to pay it in full. Meanwhile, efforts to get the number blocked by Safaricom bore no fruits. Investigations revealed that the number belonged to a certain Nixon but the financial transactions were in her name.

Mburu’s main accusation against Safaricom is breaching her right to confidentiality, consumer protection and security. After failing to get the intended loan she had to borrow from her friends which means she came into disrepute among her peers. Mburu maintained that Safaricom and CRB were reckless, careless and negligent and were liable to the damages she lost.

Similar cases of data protection breach have been rampant in the country especially with the advent of loan apps that are normally given through mobile money platforms. Kenyans also experienced another form of data breach just recently, as quite a number of people found themselves listed as members of political parties they had never even heard of in the first place.

Back in 2018, the Communications Authority directed mobile operators switch off all unregistered SIM cards on their networks with immediate effect.

The move followed a forensic audit by the Authority that unearthed loopholes in adherence to SIM card registration laws by mobile network operators.

The affected SIM cards included the unregistered, partly registered, improperly/un-procedurally registered, fraudulently registered, and those registered against multiple owners.

‘‘The exercise sought to determine whether all the subscribers were properly registered in accordance with the law as well as the completeness and accuracy of the registration data,’’ said then CA Director-General Mr.Francis Wangusi.

Just to be sure, you can confirm the status of your sim card registration by

  1. Visiting the customer care centres of your favorite telco and confirming if there are any other sim cards listed in your name. They will confirm this for you.
  2. Another option is reaching the telcos via social media and they can confirm the registration details for you.

The next hearing date of the case is August 17.