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Safaricom’s Tendency of Withholding Crucial Mobile Data Obstructing Justice

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Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore

Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore

Kenya’s leading telecom, Safaricom is yet again on the receiving end for declining to avail crucial data that would help the investigators in Lawyer Willie Kimani’s murder probe. The Law Society of Kenya, faced with non-corporation and impediments from the telecommunication giant, has made an application at High Court to compel Safaricom to release information relevant to the investigations.

LSK had requested the company to give communication data from calls and text messages for Willie, Josephat and Joseph. In a quick rejoinder, Safaricom said that they are unable to retrieve text messages since they’re not stored me their database. This, as it sounds, a big lie, calls and messages including mobile money transfers records are stored in a database as a requirement.

Willie Kimani and company were kidnapped on the 23rd of June and allegedly held in a container (which has since been torched by unknown persons) inside Syokimau Police station. LSK requested for Safaricom to use forensic data analyses techniques to get all phone numbers that were active around the container between 12pm-4pm when it is believed the three were held inside the container.

This would be a significant breakthrough in identifying the numbers and registered details of people who held the murdered captives before taking them away for butchering. Calls that were going and incoming around the container where the three were being held could be a major opening.

Anti Extra Judicial killings Protestors in Nairobi streets. (Photo: Getty)

Anti Extra Judicial killings Protestors in Nairobi streets. (Photo: Getty)

They were probably held at the spot shortly awaiting communication from someone or persons, and the call logs will determine the who and who. For the truth to be known entirely, Safaricom must, therefore, come out clean.

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In justification, Safaricom is saying they risk losing their operations licence if they released such details to third parties, that’s the LSK. The information Safaricom is withholding could be used to nail the suspects further if the data could tie them to the location.

Also, communication details where JosephatMwendwa was always getting death threats together with Willie. Delaying to release this information is obstructing justice as Kenyans sweat day in to bring to an end the legion of extra-judicial killings.

Willie’s case is not isolation, and Safaricom is on record having refused to cooperate and release call logs for blogger Bogonko Bosire, who went missing years back and is yet to be traced up to now. During ICC cases, the prosecution too accused Safaricom of non-corporation and vehemently refusing to corporate with the court and release M-Pesa statements for President Uhuru, who was charged with being a financier to the Mungiki Sect.

Ironically, the telco says its contravention of policies to release such data to a third party, yet it’s public knowledge that at times they corporate with the police to use their database in trailing down criminals. In investigations, there’s no minor evidence, and every loophole is a big breakthrough. Safaricom should corporate with the courts and investigators principally on public interest cases like this of extrajudicial killings.

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Kenya West is a trained investigative independent journalist and a socio-political commentator on matters Kenya and Africa. Do you have a story, Scandal you want me to write on? Send me tips to [in.kenyawest@protonmail.com]

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