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Court gags Porting Access in Safaricom case

NAIROBI, Kenya May 9 – Safaricom has obtained a restraining order barring Porting Access Kenya from making any statement against the firm in regard to mobile number portability.

On Friday, Safaricom filed an application seeking orders to restrain the porting agent from publishing statements, which accuse it of sabotaging the mobile phone number portability process.

The case will be heard on May 20.

The court order bars Porting Access and its Managing Director Patrick Musimba from making any statements linking the firm to the porting process.

"The first and second defendants whether by themselves, agents, servants or otherwise howsoever be restrained from further publishing or causing to be published any words and statements accusing linking or associating the plaintiff with sabotaging mobile number portability process or any words and statements similarly defamatory of the plaintiff pending the inter-partes hearing of this application," the order reads in part.

In seeking legal action, Safaricom accused Porting Access and its Managing Director Patrick Musimba of peddling lies to consumers creating a scenario that paints a picture that Safaricom was the company blocking porting services.

Mobile number portability was introduced into the market at the start of April, which allows users to change their mobile phone service providers without losing their phone numbers.

Last week, Porting Access released data showing since the service was launched, it had received 43,545 port requests. Out of the total requests only 10,000 have been successful, 15,000 are pending while 11,000 timed out.

The Communications Commission of Kenya is currently undertaking an audit on the causes of technical hitches impeding the portability process.

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The regulator also urged operators to refrain from engaging in media wars before the matter is resolved.

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