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Safaricom to pay sacked worker Sh2.4m

Business
 According to court documents, Mr Karanja, who was a fraud investigations officer, was handed a letter of summary dismissal in May 2017 accused of conflict of interest dealings involving Safaricom M-Pesa agents. [Michael Mute, Standard] 

Safaricom has been ordered to pay Sh2.4 million to a former employee for wrongful dismissal five years ago.

The Employment and Labour Relations Court, however, declined to award Michael Karanja the Sh6.7 million he sought as compensation.

According to court documents, Mr Karanja, who was a fraud investigations officer, was handed a letter of summary dismissal in May 2017 accused of conflict of interest dealings involving Safaricom M-Pesa agents.

“The respondent’s (Safaricom) letter of summary dismissal dated 31 May 2017 states that investigations had established that the claimant failed to follow the M-Pesa agent penalty guidelines in freezing and unfreezing of accounts and assisted a third party in irregular M-Pesa tills, of which he received funds contrary to the Safaricom Risk Management Code of Ethics,” the documents said.

Mr Karanja was also accused of regularly accessing customer and agent accounts against procedures and sharing the information with a third party in contravention of Safaricom policies and customer confidentiality.

In his ruling, however, Judge Jacob Gakeri said Safaricom did not ensure Mr Karanja received a notice inviting him to a disciplinary hearing, and that the telco failed to present the results of the investigation against him. “Evidently, the respondent may have had good reason to terminate or dismiss the claimant but did not pursue the process to its logical conclusion,” he said.

Mr Karanja had sought Sh6.2 million including Sh347,000 one month’s salary in lieu of notice, Sh4.1 million fr 12 months’ gross salary for unfair dismissal, Sh1 million annual bonus and Sh694,000 for leave not taken.

According to Safaricom’s latest Sustainable Business Report, the telco dismissed 28 employees for fraud in the 2020-21 financial year, a 75 per cent increase from the previous year.  

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