How 2 British nationals conned Kenya’s most profitable company, Safaricom, out of more than $1 million

Pedestrians walk past a mobile phone care centre operated by Kenyan's telecom operator Safaricom in the central business district of Kenya's capital Nairobi, May 11, 2016.
  • The two British nationals are said to have left Kenya without Safaricom’s knowledge
  • Safaricom and the UK firm, according to documents filed in court, have a relationship that dates back to 2006
  • On Thursday, High Court Judge James Makau allowed Safaricom to inform the company of the pending suit against it by placing an advertisement in a local daily newspaper

Kenya’s most profitable company has been conned of more than $1 million by two British nationals.

According to court papers filed by Safaricom, Iphone Global Systems, an international telecommunications firm that owes the mobile company Sh120 million ($1.2m) cannot be traced after folding up its local operations.

Safaricom says it has learnt that two of Iphone Global Systems directors, Steven James Moran and Leslie Thompson, have filed bankruptcy proceedings in British courts.

The two British nationals are said to have left Kenya without Safaricom’s knowledge. Safaricom attempts to locate the company at Iphone Global Systems’ last address, Carbon House, at Westland’s Office Park, was futile as it was informed they were no longer tenants there.

Safaricom has since filled a Sh120 million ($1.2 million) claim against the two and is now seeking permission to serve court papers on the elusive company through newspaper adverts.

“Attempts to serve the defendant at its registered office, Ad Life Plaza, 4th Floor, suite No 4E, Ring Road Kilimani, have been to nought as the defendant was not in occupation thereof and was said by the Ad Life plaza Manager to have never occupied any offices therein,” Safaricom told the court.

Attempts to serve the company with court papers have, however, been futile since November after the firm closed its Nairobi office

Safaricom and the UK firm, according to documents filed in court, have a relationship that dates back to 2006 when they entered into an agreement of terminating calls into each other’s networks.

As per their agreement, the firm that terminated more calls into the other’s network was supposed to pay the difference.

Iphone Global is licensed to provide voice over internet protocol (VOIP) services.

The company had always paid its bill on time until early 2017 when it started defaulting, leading to Safaricom terminating the cross-network services in March 2018.

On Thursday, High Court Judge James Makau allowed Safaricom to inform the company of the pending suit against it by placing an advertisement in a local daily newspaper.

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