Safaricom to arm agents with scanners in war on fake money


Safaricom  will roll out currency scanners to all M-Pesa agents across the country this year as the firm moves to intensify the war on fake currency and stem money laundering through its platforms.

Chief Corporate Security Officer Nicholas Mulila told the Business Daily that the roll-out targets all 168,620 agents that were operational by last December, according to industry data.

The move by Kenya’s biggest telecoms operator is a first in the country and comes at the back of a report by the central bank in 2017 that suggested 97 per cent of fraud faced by mobile money agents involved fake notes, especially the Sh1,000 and Sh500 notes.

“We will roll out the scanners to all our agents by December this year. This is part of our efforts to fight the flow of fake currency,” said Mr Mulila Thursday.

Currently, mobile money agents across the country lack machines to identify fake money, thus exposing them to huge losses from rogue customers seeking to make deposits.

Safaricom did not disclose the cost of acquiring and deploying the scanners by the time of going to press.

Mr Mulila said that all agents and M-Pesa outlet owners will be trained on how to use the machines, and will also be re-trained.

The US government warned in a report last month that Kenya is vulnerable to fake currency and dirty money due to lack of sufficient controls on mobile money transfer platforms.

It had sounded a similar warning in 2017 citing increased need for currency checkers.