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Woman Risks Jail Time for Declining to Reverse Sh271,200 Erroneously Sent to M-Pesa Account

A Nairobi businesswoman risks spending two years behind bars for keeping Sh271,200 deposited into her M-Pesa account erroneously.

Elizabeth Karimi Muthoni while appearing before Kibera Senior Principal Magistrate Philip Mutua pleaded guilty to theft charges.

The money was sent by Bakar Hussein Mohamed in Kitengela on July 14.

Mr Mohamed was purchasing an M-Pesa agent account when he mistakenly deposited the money for the float to the wrong agent account.

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KCB Bank was supposed to reverse the transaction but could not as the money had been withdrawn, the court heard.

Muthoni told the court that she had only spent part of the lump sum and was in talks with Mr Mohamed on paying him back.

The court slapped Muthoni with a Sh200,000 fine or a two year jail sentence.

Section 35 of the Computer Misuse and Cybercrimes Act states, “If you fail to reverse an M-Pesa payment that was made erroneously, you risk a two-year jail term, Sh200,000 fine or both.”

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In June, Cyrus Nzioka Maithya was sentenced to three months in jail after failing to return Sh16,463 sent erroneously by Harriet Karimi on November 3, 2020.

“Cyrus Nzioka Maithya on November 3, 2020, in Nairobi otherwise in the course of stealing dishonesty received Sh16463 in your M-Pesa account knowing or having reasons to believe it was stolen,” the charge sheet read in part.

The accused appeared before Nairobi Senior Principal Magistrate Martha Nazushi where he entered a guilty plea.

He requested leniency and forgiveness, noting that he was the sole breadwinner.

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He was slapped with a Sh20,000 or a three month jail term.

In 2017, Safaricom introduced a service where one can reverse money sent to another person by mistake.

Customers who send money to the wrong recipients are required to send the transaction code, via text message, to the number 456.

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