CCK now blocks use of short code 6969

January 14, 2011 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 14 – The Communication Commission of Kenya has discontinued the use of telecommunication short code 6969 run by Shinda Smart lottery, a day after the government banned the raffle.

The firm had on Thursday vowed to ignore the government\’s directive saying a High Court order allowed it to go on with its gaming activities, forcing the regulator to move in.

In a statement sent to news rooms, CCK Director-General Charles Njoroge said the commission had taken the step "as a matter of public interest after receiving many complaints from members of the public."

"It has come to the attention of the CCK that the lottery/gaming services, facilitated through the use of telecommunications short code 6969 are being provided without following the laid down procedures in accordance with the provisions in CCK\’s content service provider license," the statement read in part.

"The Commission has, therefore, directed that the use of the telecommunications short code 6969 by Flint East Africa Limited and its associates be discontinued with immediate effect.  This is pursuant to their contravention of Term 5 and License condition 3 of the Content Service Provider license issued by CCK," said Mr Njoroge.

The commission added that it had also received protests from members of the public with regard to the unsolicited text messages from telecommunications service providers.

Mr Njoroge argued that it was also illegal and an infringement of personal privacy for service providers to send unwanted messages to their customers.

"Users receiving such unsolicited telecommunications text messages are advised to lodge complaints with their service provider.  Should the service providers fail to resolve such complaints, users may escalate the same to the Commission for further action," he explained.

He further warned Kenyans against using telecommunication short codes to provide services without the express authority of the commission. 

"Service providers who are licensed to provide lottery/gaming services are also required to hold a permit from the Betting and Control Licensing Board," he said.

On Thursday, the Betting Control and Licensing Board announced it had revoked the lottery\’s licence and advised members of the public to stop participating in it.

According to the notice, the government\’s action was warranted by the failure of the company to comply with the High Court Order issued on December 29 directing the company to deposit Sh50 million in its account before proceeding. The firm however said it had complied.

The notice also banned the company from any further advertising either through print or electronic media.

Sports assistant minister Kabando wa Kabando had also earlier on Thursday asked the Vice President, under whose docket betting and licensing falls, to intervene in the ongoing SMS lotteries.

On Wednesday, police officers from the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) visited the Westgate shopping Mall in Westlands where they inspected vehicles displayed as part of the lottery\’s promotion.

The officers who were in the company of others from the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) headquarters also visited the offices of another firm associated with the lottery on Ngong Road but found no one at the premises.

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