Grasita demands K1m from Airtel for breach of contract


GRASITA Enterprises Limited is demanding K1,074,544 from Airtel after the telecommunication company is alleged to have been withdrawing money from its Airtel mobile money agents’ accounts without notice. According to Grasita Enterprises Limited general manager Steven Kaonga, Airtel breached their contractual obligations when they started withdrawing money from their accounts without notice.

Kaonga said Airtel had, however, not refused having withdrawn money from the accounts and had promised to repay the money but that that had not happened.

“We noticed that money had been withdrawn from our accounts and we contacted Airtel and they said they had noticed some fraudulent activities but they said they would refund us the money as soon as possible,” Kaonga said.

“We kept exchanging correspondence but then we became suspicious. Not knowing that they had targeted our mobile numbers so that they can make our business to collapse.  Contacting them was not helping, we told them the money was needed to pay off some salaries and bills. They never refused but it has just been story after story, day-in day-out.”

He said Airtel had failed to explain the alleged suspected fraudulent transactions.

“On the phone when we tried to inquire, they told us they suspected some fraudulent activities but when we came here in Lusaka, they failed to explain when we asked them to show us the suspected fraudulent transactions because they manage the system and any transaction that is made. They are fully aware and the transaction has a charge,” Kaonga said.

“We tried to verify facts with Bank of Zambia and they told us that these transactions are good and clean transactions. They were getting their charge from every transaction, ZRA was getting their money but we did not because we don’t have a personal system. We used the Airtel system to transact, we were just agents, we were controlled by their system, so how can these transactions become fraudulent transactions? It’s not making sense.”

He said his company needed money to pay salaries and other running costs.

“We terminated the contract with them in August but they have since then been holding on to the money, including what we paid for the booths when we started business with them,” Kaonga said.

“They have been delaying and delaying, if you call them, they keep saying we are working on it. Sometimes they even say the ‘cheque has bounced, no we have sent it to India, they haven’t yet approved!’ That is what they keep saying and doing but for how long when people are waiting to be paid salaries?”

According to documents obtained by The Mast, on July 19, 2018, Airtel withdrew money using two transactions from various numbers belonging to Grasita Enterprises Limited. From mobile account number 0971786637, K2,850 and K5,668 was withdrawn while account number 0971786617 had K3,200 and K6,362 withdrawn. From 0971786464, Airtel withdrew K3,425 and K6,809.

When contacted for a comment Jason Chulu from Airtel’s legal department confirmed the development but said Grasita Enterprises needed to exercise some patience as their issue was being dealt with.

Chulu refused to comment further.

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