Safaricom denies tax man access to customers’ mobile money transaction records

Safaricom says it will not give the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) customer data unless laws touching on confidentiality are changed to allow such disclosure.

The taxman is requesting unfettered access to transaction records of MPesa users. It also wants unrestricted access to taxpayers’ bank accounts in a bid to catch cheats and widen tax net.

“As you are aware, the Constitution of Kenya restricts access to confidential customer information,” Stephen Chege, corporate affairs director for Safaricom told Kenya’s Business Daily.

“Other laws such as the National Payment Systems Act and the regulations thereunder — which govern M-Pesa — also restrict access to such information unless by a court order.”

However, Chege said Safaricom fully supports KRA’s effort to grow tax revenues. “Our support is hinged on adherence to the laws of the land,” he said.

Mobile money users transacted a total of Sh2.8 trillion ($28 billion) last year, Sh504 billion more than the national budget.