Have you ever received money through M-Pesa or Airtel money erroneously? Or rather, have you ever sent money to the wrong number?
In a recent legal case, Stephen Gioko Mwangi found himself in hot water after he received a substantial amount of money, Sh140,000, in his mobile account, sent to him by mistake.
Instead of returning the money, Mwangi opted to spend it, leading to his arrest and subsequent charges of theft and withholding a message delivered erroneously to him.
After a trial, Mwangi was found guilty of the offenses.
The court sentenced him to a fine of Sh140,000, or in default, a two-year imprisonment for theft.
Additionally, he was ordered to pay Sh50,000 or serve six months in prison for withholding the mistakenly delivered message.
Unhappy with the court’s decision, Mwangi sought a revision of his sentence at Milimani High Court.
In his plea, he argued that the fine was excessive and requested a more lenient sentence, preferably a non-custodial one.
However, Judge Kanyi Kimondo, presiding over the case, upheld the original verdict.
He noted that since Mwangi had chosen to use the erroneously sent money instead of returning it, he could not claim the fine was excessive.
“The punishment was also well within the law. I thus decline to disturb it,” the court documents read.
The judge further stated that despite being a first-time offender, Mwangi’s actions warranted a deterrent sentence.
In the ruling delivered on October 19, 2023, Judge Kanyi dismissed Mwangi’s plea and directed that the decision be communicated to both Mwangi and the Director of Public Prosecutions.