In a case that is undoubtedly set to be used as a precedent in such similar cases that have become all too common in the country, a woman, Elizabeth Karimi Muthoni, has been convicted at the Kibera Law Courts for failing to return money that was erroneously sent to her by another Mpesa user by the names, Bakar Hussein Mohammed.
Set to be watched keenly by observers, the developments between the complainant and the accused will serve as a pointer to others who might have found themselves in similar circumstances as Karimi now risks spending two years in jail for keeping Sh271,200 erroneously sent to her M-Pesa account.
Appearing before Kibera Senior Principal Magistrate Philip Mutua this week, Elizabeth Karimi Muthoni admitted to withdrawing the money.
It was erroneously sent to her M-Pesa account by Mr Bakar Hussein Mohamed in Kitengela, Kajiado County, on July 14.
The court heard that Mr Mohamed was buying an M-Pesa agent account and that while depositing the money for the float, he mistakenly sent it to the wrong agent account.
The agent account belongs to Ms Muthoni, whose business is based in Kitengela.
Kenya Commercial Bank had promised to reverse the transaction and credit Mr Mohammed’s account, but it failed since the money had been withdrawn by the accused.
The accused told the court that she had only withdrawn part of the money and was in talks with Mr Mohammed on repaying him.
After pleading guilty to theft charges, the court slapped her with a Sh200,000 fine.
Back in 2012, a New Zealand gas station owner turned international fugitive was sentenced to four years and seven months in prison after stealing millions of dollars accidentally deposited into his bank account.
Hui “Leo” Gao, dubbed the “accidental millionaire,” sparked a global manhunt after fleeing New Zealand with his girlfriend Kara Hurring in April 2009.
Gao’s journey from the forecourt to fugitive began in April 2009 when Australian bank Westpac accidentally gave him access to $7 million (NZ$10 million).
Gao had applied for overdraft financing for the gas station he co-owned with his mother in Rotorua, New Zealand, court documents said.
The bank approved his application with a $100,000 limit, however while inputting the figure a bank employee made a clerical error and gave him access to 100 times the intended amount.
Gao discovered the error the next day and told his girlfriend, Kara Hurring that he was “f—ing rich” and had millions of dollars, court documents said.
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