A Lusaka man has dragged MTN Zambia to court seeking damages for negligence after some Mobile Money fraudsters with an unregistered number sent him a scam message after allegedly listening to his phone conversation.
Zephrantheniah Mudenda, who has also sued ZICTA as second defendant, is further seeking an order to force the Authority to suspend MTN’s mobile license until it deactivates all unregistered sim cards, among other claims.
In a statement of claim filed in the Lusaka High Court recently, Mudenda stated that he was at all material times a user of a registered MTN mobile number.
He claimed that on January 28, 2019, at 06:25 hours, he received a message on his registered mobile number from 0961197368, directing him to send money to 0973244240 and that names would come as “Webby Siwelwa.”
Mudenda added that the previous day on January 27, prior to receiving the message in question, he had a conversation with his sister who was requesting money to be sent into her MTN Mobile Money account.
He stated that after receiving the message, he called his young sister to confirm if it was her who sent the message, but she answered in the negative.
Mudenda further stated that upon the negative response from his sister, he decided to call MTN Call Centre around 06:55 and after several options managed to speak to an agent who identified herself as Emma.
“The plaintiff will aver that upon calling MTN Call Centre, an automated voice warned him that all the conversations will be recorded for quality purposes,” read the statement of claim.
He claimed that upon enquiring from Emma about the MTN number that sent the message, he was told to his shock and disbelief, that the said number was not registered, hence no name on it.
Mudenda claimed that upon hearing that the number was not registered, he enquired from the said Emma how the unregistered number was able to send the message to his registered number, but the MTN agent became rude and unhelpful.
He added that when he further asked about the MTN Head Office so that he could follow-up the matter as it now bordered on his safety and security of his family, Emma refused to tell him the Head Office and rudely cut the line before he could finish asking and getting answers.
Mudenda stated that upon hearing that the number, which sent the scam message was not registered, he feared for his life and safety of his wife and kids, and wondered how the unregistered number was able to listen to his conversation about sending money and be able to contact him via a message.
He stated that upon gathering courage from the shock, he decided to report the matter to Chilenje Police on the same day, January 28, for fear of his life and safety of his family, adding that afterward, he went to lodge a complaint at ZICTA and filed a form where he included the complaint against MTN for endangering his family’s life and against its agent, Emma.
Mudenda claimed that he took all necessary and required procedures to seek help from ZICTA against MTN, but to no avail.
“Both defendants (ZICTA and MTN) negligently and unknown reason to the plaintiff, don’t want to solve the matter amicably, but through litigation. As a result, the plaintiff has been inconvenienced by the actions of both defendants and has suffered mental anguish as to his life and safety of his family,” read the statement of claim.
Mudenda is now seeking an order to force ZICTA to suspend MTN’s mobile license until it deactivates all unregistered sim cards, compensation against MTN for endangering his safety, damages for allowing third parties to invade his privacy, damages for mental anguish caused by MTN’s negligence, costs and any other relief the court may deem fit.