Safaricom awaits response on MPESA probe

January 19, 2009

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 19 – Mobile Phone Operator Safaricom said on Monday that it’s yet to receive feedback from a joint committee setup by the government to probe its M-pesa money transfer service.

Chief Executive Officer Michael Joseph says they are still waiting for an official response from the government after providing investigators from the Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK) and the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) with all information that was requested.

He has received any specific request for information about the audit but we have supplied a lot of information.

“There is a joint committee between the CCK and the Central Bank that are looking at this regulation under which institute we should be regulated under,” Joseph said, “it may be a combination of both or one.”

“We don’t know but I think because its money, the Central Bank will have a bigger say. But I’m not sure where the regulation will actually fall,” he said.

The Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) Governor Prof Njuguna Ndungu has in the past said that they are monitoring operations of money transfer services in the market to ensure that they are not being abused.

The CBK boss said they had given mobile phone companies the platform that is backed by a bank account, to ensure they minimise the risks of losing money.

He has urged for the enactment of the National Payments and Settlements Bill to effectively regulate the money transfer services.

At the same time, Joseph said the M-Pesa service is set to go international in April.

“M-pesa is run in conjunction with Vodafone, we share the cost, revenue and profits if we make any profits. In April this year we will probably convert that into a pure licensing where we will own it completely and pay license fees to Vodafone on a subscriber basis.”

“Vodafone own the intellectual property right and are introducing M-pesa in other countries such as Tanzania and Afghanistan, and they are talking now to other countries like Egypt and South Africa,” the Safaricom boss said.

But even as M-Pesa catches on like wild fire, its users and all other beneficiaries such as the estimated 9,000 Kenyans who man the M-Pesa agency outlets are all holding their breath for the outcome of an investigation ordered by the acting Finance Minister John Michuki.

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