Sacco to pay woman Sh1.5m for using her picture

A Sacco based in Maua, Meru County, will pay a woman Sh1.5 million for publishing her picture without her consent.

This was after Dhabiti Sacco Ltd lost an appeal against a court judgment that ordered it to pay the amount to the applicant, Sharon Nyaga.

Nyaga sued the Sacco in 2019 seeking general and exemplary damages after accusing the society of invasion of her privacy and violation of image rights for undue enrichment.

She also wanted the court to issue orders of permanent injunction restraining the Sacco from further using her image in any manner whatsoever without her consent.

Nyaga, in her suit filed at Meru Chief Magistrate’s Court, claimed that in January 2019, the Sacco published her picture in its annual calendar by way of advertising its services and products.

The Sacco, she said, was liable for infringement of her right to privacy and deprivation of property without compensation.

Nyaga said that she went for a photoshoot after graduating in 2018 and took photos in her graduation gown. In February 2019, she said, she started receiving calls from her friends and relatives informing her that she was on a calendar.

After establishing that indeed her image had been used on the calendar, Nyaga said, she sent a letter to the Sacco seeking to know why it had used her picture without her permission.

The photo was taken in Meru by a photographer only identified as Tony. Nyaga later posted it on Facebook, but the photographer said he did not give the photo to the Sacco.

Titus Miriti Munjuri, the CEO of the Sacco, testified that it contracted a third party, namely Mastermind Media Services, for graphic design works and printing of 3,000 calendars for the year 2019.

The calendars were given to members and depositors.

The CEO wanted Mastermind Media Services enjoined in the case. He asked the court to dismiss Nyaga’s suit saying the Sacco was not liable.

However, the trial court found that the applicant had proved her case on a balance of probabilities and awarded her general and exemplary damages of Sh1.5 million for invasion of her privacy and using her image rights for undue enrichment.

Aggrieved by the decision, the Sacco filed an appeal in July 2021. 

Justice Patrick Otieno, while dismissing the appeal on February 21, agreed with the lower court that use of the woman’s photo without consent was a violation of her privacy.