Kenya’s biggest telecommunication company Safaricom let go of 33 members of staff in the financial year ended in March 2023. In its latest sustainability report, the telco has disclosed the staff were let go due to corruption and fraud allegations.
In the last 4 financial years covered in the report, 33 represented the highest number of dismissals. For instance, in the financial year ending March 2022, Safaricom dismissed 24 staff members as part of its anti-corruption measures.
This was a slight drop compared to the preceding period when the telco dismissed 28 members of staff.
Further, in the financial year ending March 2023, Safaricom investigated 33 fraud cases leading to 33 dismissals. Seemingly, all those who were investigated were found culpable. Furthermore, of the 33 fraud cases investigated, 9 were forwarded to government law enforcement agencies for further action. The 9 fraud cases reported to law enforcement was the highest number in 4 years.
A look into the fraud cases shows that 14 were Sim Swap incidences. Sim Swaps have been a menace Kenyans have been grappling with and it often leads to financial losses and debt.
On the other hand, 17 of the cases looked into were related to breaches of policy/procedure. Lastly, 2 were for asset misappropriation. Usually, asset misappropriation is a type of employee fraud that involves the theft or misuse of company or client assets for personal gain.
Remarkably, the telco registered no incidences of data privacy. This is a sharp contrast from 2 years ago when the company investigated 22 cases related to data privacy.
In total, Safaricom directly employs just above 5,000 employees, so 33 bad apples may be a minute proportion.
Ethical Training to Counter Fraud
The company has stated one of its missions is to ensure the safety and security of customers and business ecosystems. One of the approaches they have taken is the training of staff.
“Training, both internally and externally, helps to promote our ethical culture. As indicated in the table in the next column, a total of 98% of our staff benefitted from ethics training and the entire Board was trained on Anti-Money Laundering /Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT),” says Safaricom in the latest report.
For example, in the last four years, Safaricom has given ethical training to 72,063 of the 270,360 M-Pesa agents.
Earlier in the year, the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) and Safaricom announced they will be working closely with in investigating M-Pesa fraud cases. Only, last month DCI detectives arrested two Sim Swap fraudsters allegedly linked to the Mulot gang.
The telco has also put in measures such as social media campaigns and text messages to raise fraud awareness. There are also initiatives such as Jitambulishe to further protect users from fraud.
During the investor briefing in May,the telco hinted at obscuring M-Pesa pins when user are keying in. Adil Arshed Khawaja (MBS chairman of Safaricom board stated: “Expect an announcement in the course of the year”.