The High Court has suspended the re-introduction of bank-to-mobile transaction charges pending the determination of a case that has been lodged by a concerned citizen.
The directive now blocks telcos and financial institutions from implementing the fees that many of them had announced to effect in January 2023.
The Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) had on December 6 2022 waived the bank to mobile charges as a way of cushioning wananchi from the economic turmoil occasioned by the COVID-19 endemic and encourage mobile banking transactions as well.
According to the petitioner, Moses Wafula, the cost of bank-to-mpesa transactions should be borne by operators.
“Safaricom has no authority to charge members of the public for a service offered to its contracting service recipients including banks,” Wafula says adding that banks and other financial institutions using the Paybill system are classified as Safaricom’s Mpesa Paybill primary clients.
Mr Wafula says M-Pesa Paybill services being an outsourced service, “Safaricom has no authority to charge members of the public for a service offered to its contracting service recipients including banks”.
“The petition pending determination illustrates that the engagement between Safaricom and its M-Pesa Paybill clients (such as Banks, Government agencies, Kenya power, DStv, Betting firms, mobile money companies, and other institutions) is a bipartite business engagement between Safaricom as the M-Pesa paybill service provider and their M-Pesa paybill primary clients being the service recipients,” he adds.
The High Court has since then ordered Safaricom and the Central Bank of Kenya to suspend the reintroduction of bank-to-MPesa charges pending the determination of the suit involving financial consumer rights. The interim order was issued by High Court judge Mugure Thande
The case will be mentioned on January 23, 2023.