East Africa’s biggest Telecommunications company Safaricom Plc has once again been caught red-handed stealing an idea which is patented.
Last week, Safaricom launched a TUWAANIKE, a feature that makes it hard for anyone to register someone’s National Identity Card Number (ID) without their authorisation. This was necessitated due to the rising cases of fraud where a person’s ID number is used to register a new line, which in turn causes them to lose money in their mobile wallets mostly MPESA.
You can now stop fraud on its tracks. You will receive an SMS alert from 707 each time someone tries to register a line using your National ID. It’s time #tuwaanike #SafaricomForYou pic.twitter.com/KsjfIMe75D
— Safaricom PLC (@SafaricomPLC) May 17, 2020
Criminals also exploited this to rob close family members of cash through MPESA.
Anyona Obutu, an innovator, went on Twitter to complain that Safaricom had stolen this idea after he had submitted it on Zindua Cafe Portal.
Zindua Cafe Portal is run by the Telco; it encourages people to submit their ideas to be considered by Safaricom.
Anyona’s case makes it more interesting because he had tweeted about it in April, a month later, Safaricom launched it as theirs, but the problem is, they didn’t contact him and to make matters worse, they deleted the link to his submission.
All this pointed to criminal behaviour bu the Peter Ndegwa-led company and a cover up.
Subject: A͟n͟t͟i͟-͟K͟a͟m͟i͟t͟i͟ ͟M͟p͟e͟s͟a͟ ͟F͟r͟a͟u͟d͟ ͟U͟n͟i͟t͟
Moving forward there will be zero MPESA fraud
Your national ID is the unique identifier, you should get an alert on your primary number each time your ID registers a new simcard
— Anyona Obutu (@obutuz) April 6, 2020
Slayqueens and innovations
This is not the first time that Safaricom Plc s being accused of swindling an idea from an individual or company.
In the past, Safaricom has been accused of stealing Mshwari from Faulu Bank, Reverse call idea, MPESA 1-tap and other innovations.
Most of the giant Telco’s departments are headed by women, most of whom have questionable characters and their ascendency to the top is highly doubted if it was through merit, if any.
They’ve made a name through stealing and implementing those ideas, some have won awards through stolen ideas.
Others like the CEO of Integrated Payment Services Limited (IPSL) which runs Pesalink a platform where banks in Kenya use to execute bank to mobile payments, a competitor of MPESA, she is a rare breed of those who cut their teeth inside the stealing monopoly that is Safaricom.
Though Pesalink idea is being contested in court, she went on to steal another idea from Kibo Capital Group Limited and won an award with it. I wonder if these awarding firms even do due diligence, but the problem doesn’t stop there, the problem is the media houses and journalists who publish their stories as successful women in business, they don’t even ask the hard questions. It is due to Brown Envelope Journalism.
Anyona Obutu, the innovative young man is calling for justice.
— Anyona Obutu (@obutuz) May 17, 2020
What Kenyans said
Unless @Safaricom_Care prove otherwise, their new extra security feature that alerts you via SMS whenever someone tries to register a line using your National ID is thanks to Anyona Obutu and not Safaricom Limited. pic.twitter.com/Ug4kzalzym
— Kiigen K. Koech (@KiigenKoech) May 17, 2020
This is an invention and therefore is patentable and not copyrightable. The body that administers patents is Kenya Industrial Property Institute @kipikenya and Obutu should seek redress in line with the KIPI Act 2001.
— Adipo Sidang' (@AdipoSidang) May 17, 2020
Safaricom have once again done what they do very well, taking people's ideas and concepts. This time round, the brainchild is Anyona Obutu (@obutuz). @SafaricomPLC should have at least acknowledged him. pic.twitter.com/hzHQ4GtI1L
— Kiigen K. Koech (@KiigenKoech) May 17, 2020
The story of Anthony pitching at a Safaricom organised event, told his idea wasnt viable, only for Safaricom to introduce the same product years later is the reason I've always refused to pitch & in the process lost "potential investors". I'm okay moving slowly but surely. #MGas pic.twitter.com/CIEod14zDc
— Kiigen K. Koech (@KiigenKoech) February 1, 2020
I keep telling Kenyans, patent and copyright your innovations and ideas outside of Kenya(preferably US or Europe) then bring them to Kenyan companies and sell it to them. Otherwise you'll forever remain poor as your ideas continue enriching these already rich companies..? https://t.co/rhc680KPIj
— Corruption is Expensive (@ItsMJ254) May 17, 2020
— Kenya West© (@KinyanBoy) May 17, 2020