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Did Safaricom Breach Justice Lenaola’s Privacy?

Bob Collymore, CEO Safaricom

Privacy is an issue subscribers in Kenya hold closely to their hearts so it is no surprise that the country is buzzing with the news of Justice Isaac Lenaola’s letter to Safaricom, a telecommunication giant in Kenya. In the letter that was drafted by Lenaola’s lawyer Donald Kipkorir and addressed to Bob Collymore who is the CEO of the telco, the judge is seeking information regarding how a certain Derrick Malika obtained his call logs.

Derrick Malika is a director at Angaza Network and earlier this week he also had tongues wagging when he presented a seemingly damning petition at the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) seeking investigations against Deputy Chief Justice Philomena Mwilu and Supreme Court judge Isaac Lenaola over alleged gross misconduct.

In the petition, Ngumu attached alleged phone conversation records and meetings that took place before the ruling was made.

“In respect of his petition, Mr. Ngumu has attached 98 pages of our clients mobile phone call, text and WhatsApp logs. Our client’s number was issued by and is still under Safaricom,” read part of the letter with KTK Advocates letterhead and that was addressed to Safaricom Chief Executive Officer Bob Collymore.

According to Section 31 of the Kenya Information & Communications Act, and article 31 of the Constitution, the telecom is obligated to be a good custodian of the their clients’ call-logs, messages and contents.

Having these in mind, the main questions lingering in any person who has followed this saga since the filing of the petition by Mr. Ngumu is how he was able to obtain the messages and call –logs? Did Safaricom authorize him to get them or did they provide the information to the petitioner?

The license given to the company is very specific on the fact that it should provide secure communication and that they do not intercept messages or disclose any information pertaining to their consumers’ mobile numbers.

According to the petition, another Supreme Court judge Justice Philomena Mwilu is said to have held a conversation lasting about two hours with Amos Wako but she failed to disclose this to other judges.

Safaricom is yet to authenticate or reply to the letter.

On August 8th 2017, about 15.5 million Kenyans held their general elections where they were expected to elect Members of Country Assemblies (MCA), Members of Parliament, Senators, Women representatives, governors and the president. All went well but after counting and transmission of the results, an opposition aspirant Mr. Raila Odinga did not agree with the final tally and went to court. The petition at the Supreme Court was presented by lawyer James Orengo among others on behalf of Odinga on August 18 2017.The petition was against The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission and Uhuru Kenyatta who was the second respondent.