Relief For Safaricom After Tribunal Suspends Them From Paying Half A Billion Fine

by Mahakamani News

Communications and Multimedia Appeals Tribunal have suspended decision by Communication Authority of Kenya to fine Safaricom Limited almost half a billion shillings for failure to head the authority’s directives pending hearing and determination of the application.

According to legal documents exclusively in possession of Mahakamani News , Safaricom appealed the decision by CA to fine the telecommunication giant 449 million shillings which is the highest penalty in the history.

Tribunal Senior Resident Magistrate William Oketch suspended the payment which was supposed to be paid by 30th of this month.

“The CA decision requiring the applicant (Safaricom PL) to pay the penalty of 0.2% of its annual Gross Turnover for a period ended 31 March ,2018 amounting to Kshs. 449,070,000,0 is hereby stayed pending hearing and determination of the application” ordered Tribunal Oketch Senior Resident Magistrate.

The tribunal further suspended the letter dated 1 of August , 2018 that ordered Safaricom to pay the said amount by 30 th of this month.

“Tribunal stay the decision of Communications Authority of Kenya made by a letter dated 1 of August, 2018 and reference ‘failure to heed the Authority’s directives’ pending the hearing and determination of the application” Oketch Senior Resident Magistrate.

The company filed the application under certificate of urgency through lawyer John Ohaga .

This is the highest regulatory fine in Kenya’s history.

The company argued the CA found that Safaricom was liable to pay the penalty of 0.2% of it annual gross turnover for a period ended 31 of 2018 amounting to Kshs. 449,070,000,0.

The telecommunication giant argued that, the period of the almost half a billion penalty lapses on the 30 of August this year and CA is likely to initiate proceedings for the recovery of the said amount immediately.

“Regulation 8 (7) of the Kenya Information and Communications (Dispute Regulations) Regulations, 2010 is clear that the decision of the 1 Respondent shall be binding until subsequent orders are made by the Tribunal or the determination of the appeal” said the company.

The telecommunication company claims the company will suffer substantial loss and irreparable damage if the decision is executed by CA.

In a supporting an affidavit,the head of department regulatory and public policy of Safaricom (PLC) Mercy Ndegwa, safaricom acknowledged to be the most profitable company in the country and will be ready to pay the penalty if the appeal is unsuccessful.

“The applicant is a public company and is acknowledged to be the most profitable company in Kenya and will no doubt be in position to remit the penalty without delay in the unlikely event that the appeal is unsuccessful” said Mercy in the affidavit.

She argued CA will not suffer any prejudice if the decision dated 1 August ,2018 is suspended pending hearing and determination of the appeal.

Tribunal further certified the appeal urgent and directed Safaricom PL to serve Communication Authority and Elige Communications Limited within three days of the order.

In the year 2015, Federal Communications Commission slapped AT&T with a$100 million fine, accusing the country’s second-largest cellular carrier of improperly slowing down Internet speeds for customers who had signed up for “unlimited” data plans.

The consumer data breach took place at call centers in Mexico, Colombia and the Philippines, the U.S. communications regulator.

The FCC found that when customers used up a certain amount of data watching movies or browsing the Web, AT&T “throttled” their Internet speeds so that they were much slower than normal. Millions of AT&T customers were affected by the practice, according to the FCC


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