Safaricom is about to launch a new product dubbed auto-okoa, to compliment the already existing Okoa Jahazi service that lets you borrow airtime when faced with a situation that you need to make calls but airtime is not readily available.
In the new product, your call will not be disconnected in case your airtime is exhausted. Instead, you will be automatically advanced airtime to avoid embarrassment in important calls.
Kahawa Tungu has however learnt that the country’s largest telco does not own the idea, and has not paid even a penny to the mastermind of the idea. Our investigative desk has discovered that the idea belongs to Denis Ireri Mbarire from Kajiado, who presented it to Safaricom on August 15, this year.
Safaricom took his idea and renamed it ‘auto-okoa’, and are about to launch it to the market.
Ireri was later asked to present the idea through zindua platform, which he did.
Documents in possession of this desk indicate that Safaricom acknowledged reception of the proposal on the same date in the telco’s mailing room.
This happened after Ireri had registered the idea with the Kenya Copyright Board (KECOBO), after foreseeing a possible underhand dealings at Safaricom.
This is not the first time Safaricom is on the spot for stealing ideas presented to them and owning them, without paying the owners even a penny. Last year, the giant telco was on the spot allegedly for stealing the Mpesa 1Tap idea from Jonathan Gikabu, Managing Director Innovase Limited, who had been working on it since 2014.
The parent company Vodacom is also in a fierce court battle for allegedly stealing the ‘please call me’ message idea from one of its former employees.
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