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ITWeb Africa

Saturday, Jan 25th

Safaricom Kenya fires 70 employees for fraud

fraudinkenya

Kenya's leading mobile operator Safaricom, has sacked about 70 employees in the last 12 months for engaging in fraud, theft and bribery.

A sustainability report launched by the firm last week also shows that Safaricom sacked and prosecuted 16 employees after detecting 114 cases of economic crime including accounting fraud, asset misappropriation and bribery in the last one year.

“We recently dismissed 16 employees for accepting bribes to offer M-Pesa agencies and last year we terminated 28 dealers because of fraud,” said Safaricom chief executive Bob Collymore.

The mobile operator said it has referred 11 cases for court action and five to the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) .

The company also reported cases of collusion and bribery between its employees and agents who sell airtime, phones and act as M-Pesa dealers.

“Fraud reviews are undertaken on high risk areas within the organisation, with the main objective of uncovering fraud . During the last calendar year, 114 investigations were successfully completed, resulting in disciplinary actions being taken, ranging from caution letters for non-deliberate negligence, police action and prosecution,” states the report.

Collymore said the firm has set up three distinct sections to handle fraud and deployed automated fraud detection tools to curb fraud among its employees. Other measures put in place to combat bribery among its employees include developing a bribery and corruption policy and introducing bribery risk assessments.

The company has also trained 1,660 staff on bribery and ethics awareness, representing about 50 % of its staff. Safaricom said the 'increased prosecution of staff involved in fraud' has been a 'powerful deterrent'.

Safaricom sued 13 of its former agents in June for allegedly conning the company out of goods to the value of $1.2 million. The company claimed that between October 2010 and May 2011 the dealers presented bank deposit slips to the telco to receive goods but it later turned that no payments had been made into the specified account.

Safaricom's sustainability report prepared by auditing firm KPMG South Africa was launched last week, outlines the firm’s commitment in safeguarding the environment, shunning corruption and embracing innovation.

The report covers eight strategic pillars including regulatory environment, energy and network security, innovation, ethical supply chain conduct, corporate ethics, environmental impact and employee engagement.

A survey by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) indicates that about 66% of 91 Kenyan companies have reported increased fraud in the last one year compared to 57% companies in the previous year.

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