Man Jailed For Failing To Reverse Ksh16,000 Sent By Mistake

Cyrus Maithya received the aforementioned amount on his M-PESA but had refused to reverse it, forcing the lender, Harriet Karimi, to seek legal action.

Man Jailed For Failing To Reverse Ksh16,000 Sent By Mistake

A Nairobi Court has sentenced a man to three months in jail for failing to return Ksh16,463 sent to his M-PESA number by mistake.

Cyrus Maithya received the aforementioned amount on his M-PESA but had refused to reverse it, forcing the lender, Harriet Karimi, to seek legal action.

Maithya pleaded guilty before Nairobi Senior Principal Magistrate Martha Nzushi and was ordered to refund her the money, but he admitted to using it all, much to Karimi's annoyance.

Cyrus Maithya in court on June 29, 2021. /COURTESY

“Cyrus Nzioka Maithya on November 3, 2020, in Nairobi otherwise in the course of stealing dishonesty received Ksh16,463 in your M-Pesa account knowing or having reasons to believe it was stolen,” his charge sheet read in part.

Following his plea, he requested for leniency and forgiveness, arguing that he has a family that depends solely.

However, in her ruling, the magistrate refused his plea, directing that he be sentenced to three months in jail or pay a fine of Ksh20,000.

The case is a rare landmark in regards to mobile money transfer where users are vulnerable to erroneous transactions in which users confuse numbers and send money to the wrong recipient.

A few years ago, leading telecommunication service provider Safaricom had updated its M-PESA service by rolling out a software upgrade that enables one see the name of the recipient and cancel a transaction within 25 seconds, if the money is sent to the wrong person. This has tremendously reduced cases of people sending money by mistake.

Section 34 of the Computer and Cyber Crimes Act, 2018 rules against those who intentionally hide or hold electronic messages, electronic payments, credit and debit card details sent in error.

Section 36 of the same cybercrimes act indicates that a person who unlawfully destroys or aborts any electronic email or processes through which money or information is being conveyed is guilty of an offence.

An MPESA shop in Kenya. /FILE