A businesswoman finds herself entangled in legal proceedings after allegedly withholding an erroneous sum of Sh392,000 transferred to her M-Pesa agent account by a bank official.
Elizabeth Wanjiru stands accused of intentionally withholding electronic payment, a charge that has landed her in hot water.
The allegations against Wanjiru stem from a transaction gone awry on January 11, 2024, when Frida Wangechi, an employee at Equity Bank Ruai branch, attempted to deposit Sh392,000 into Wanjiru's M-Pesa agent account as operational capital.
However, due to an inadvertent error, Wangechi ended up sending twice the intended amount, totalling Sh784,000.
Efforts were promptly made to rectify the mistake, with Wangechi seeking assistance from her senior colleagues to reverse the additional funds.
Unfortunately, these attempts proved futile, leaving the excess amount stranded in Wanjiru's account.
Despite instructions from management not to withdraw the funds as they engaged Safaricom Limited for a resolution, Wanjiru allegedly disappeared, rendering herself unreachable by switching off her phone.
Subsequent efforts to reverse the transaction hit a dead end when it was discovered that Wanjiru's account held insufficient funds to facilitate the reversal process.
This revelation left Wangechi and her colleagues at a loss, leading to the initiation of legal action against Wanjiru.
Facing charges under section 35 of the Computer Misuse and Cybercrimes Act of 2018, Wanjiru appeared before Chief Magistrate Tito Gesora of the Makadara Law Courts to deny the accusations.
Despite her denial, she was released on a bond of Sh200,000, with an alternative cash bail set at Sh100,000. The case is scheduled for mention on April 5, with the commencement of the hearing slated for July 8, 2024.
Crucial evidence in the case includes CCTV footage capturing Wanjiru being served by Wangechi, as well as a bank statement confirming a withdrawal of only Sh392,000 by the accused.
Additionally, Wangechi and one of her senior colleagues have been listed as witnesses, adding weight to the prosecution's case.
As the legal proceedings unfold, the outcome remains uncertain, leaving both parties anxiously awaiting resolution in a case that underscores the complexities of electronic transactions and the legal ramifications of unintended financial errors.
Beyond the legal implications, this case sparks broader concerns about the security and accountability surrounding digital transactions.
The speed and convenience of mobile money come with inherent risks, and robust safeguards are crucial to protect both senders and recipients.
The court's judgment will be closely watched, not just for its impact on
Wanjiru's case, but also for its potential to set a precedent for addressing similar situations in the ever-evolving digital financial ecosystem.