Bolt ordered to pay driver Sh1m for blocking account

A tribunal found that it was illegal and unfair to kick out the driver. [Eduard Skorov/Alamy]

Taxi-hailing company Bolt has been ordered to pay a driver Sh1 million for unfairly deactivating his account after complaining about data breach.

The Transport Licensing Appeals Board Tribunal Tuesday ordered the company to pay Kennedy Wainaina Sh6,000 for 168 days that his account was deactivated.

The tribunal found that it was illegal and unfair to kick out Wainaina without giving him a fair hearing.

“To aggravate the matter, when the applicant complained, instead of resolving the issue, the second respondent retaliated punitively, by deactivating the appellant’s transport network portal account without following the imperatives of natural justice and the attendant procedural requirements,” said the tribunal composed of Dr Adrian Kamotho, Joseph McDonald, James Ngomeli, Maryan Hajir, and Waithira Muiruri. 

“Indeed, save for mere denials, the respondents did not offer any direct response to the substantive claims by the appellant... the position asserted by the appellant largely remains uncontroverted,” the tribunal observed. 

It also directed the firm to immediately restore Wainaina’s account, and ordered Bolt to file a report on its compliance with the National Transport Safety Authority (NTSA) regulations within 48 hours.

NTSA did not file written submissions. However, it orally urged the tribunal to dismiss the case as Wainaina had not approached the data protection commissioner.

Bolt argued that Wainaina is not among the persons allowed by the NTSA Act to approach the tribunal, and the tribunal only ought to sit on appeal in complaints filed before the NTSA board.

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