The Higher Education Loans Board (Helb) has been ordered to pay a lawyer Ksh10 million for erroneously listing her with Credit Reference Bureaus (CRB) as a defaulter.
In a ruling delivered by High Court Judge James Makau, Helb was further ordered to apologise to Eunice Ng’ang’a in two national newspapers for causing her embarrassment and tarnishing her reputation.
“This Court takes judicial notice to the fact that whoever is ever listed by any of the Credit Reference Bureaus (CRBs) following an adverse information or report cannot be taken as a person worthy granting a loan or doing business with otherwise. The person loses all respect and dignity,” Justice Makau said.
“I am alive to the fact that an adverse report from CRB is not a light joke and no prudent business person would go about giving a loan or entering into a business contract with someone who has an adverse report from CRB.”
The lawyer told the court that she had applied for an Helb loan in 1995 but she was unsuccessful.
Interestingly, Helb later sent Ksh8,000 to Maseno University as loan meant to support her studies despite her not being one of the students in the institution.
The court heard that Helb kept quiet about the loan for 21 years. The state corporation requires students to begin repaying their loan one year after completing their studies.
In the case, Helb argued that it pursued Ng’ang’a severally in an attempt to have her repay the loan between 1999 and 2016, but she was evasive.
In her defence, Ng’ang’a said despite having obtained admission to Maseno University, she did not join the institution and therefore did not utilise the loan.
The lender reversed the amount on February 15, 2016. However, in 2018, Ng’ang’a received an email notifying her that she had been listed with CRB.
In its court documents, Helb claimed her name was erroneously flagged due to a system malfunction further admitting that it had recovered the loan from Maseno University in 2016.
Also sued in the case was Metropol CRB and the Trade Union. The two firms, however, shifted blame to Helb arguing they were just doing their work which includes storing information forwarded to them and disseminating it to their subscribers.