Faulu loses bid to halt Safaricom’s M-Shwari

The mobile banking service called M-Shwari allows users to save and borrow through their mobile phones.

Users of the mobile phone banking service, M-Shwari, will continue using it after a court rejected an application to halt the transactions.

Micro-finance company Faulu Kenya, which claims copyright to the concept, had sought an injunction to stop Safaricom and Commercial Bank of Africa (CBA) from offering the service.

The micro-finance lender had sought the injunction pending determination of its suit for breach of copyright and violation of trade secret, which it filed last year against the mobile phone company and the bank.

Mr Justice Jonathan Havelock on Monday ruled that Faulu Kenya failed to prove that it owned a copyright to the concept or that Safaricom had breached its confidence.

“The plaintiff (Faulu Kenya) is underserving of being granted injunctive relief at this stage,” said Mr Justice Havelock.

The ruling means that nothing stops Safaricom and the CBA from carrying on with M-Shwari, even as Faulu Kenya pursues its claim against them in the main suit that is pending at the High Court.

M-Shwari was launched on November 27 last year as a cash advance product for M-Pesa subscribers. The subscribers can save and borrow money from the CBA through M-Shwari.

Breached deal

Faulu Kenya filed the suit last December, accusing Safaricom of stealing its concept and breaching a secrecy agreement over the concept.

Faulu Kenya claimed it developed a cash advance system that would operate on mobile telephone network and that would enable users to apply for, receive and make payments to and from the institution.

The company collaborated with Airtel Networks to provide the service under the brand name Kopa Chapaa, it claims.