CS Matiangi waters down MPs’ questions on Safaricom-Transcend Copyright row

Interior CS Doctor Fred Matiangi

Interior Cabinet Secretary Dr. Fred Matiang’i has failed to provide Members of Parliament with details on the status of investigation into a complaint raised by Transcend Media Group against Safaricom that it infringed on the media agency’s intellectual property rights.

Arising from a tender floated by Safaricom, Transcend Media Group moved to court and filed a motion on November 18, 2016, to stop the telco from further rolling out its initiative dubbed the ‘Blaze Campaign’ which targeted the youth.

Transcend alleged that Safaricom awarded the business to Saracen and a Company (Fieldstone Helms Limited) owned by former Transcend staff who were involved in Transcend’s bid including the team leader.

As a result, Transcend claimed that Fieldstone Helms was “illegally implementing” Transcend’s intellectual property (IP).

Nominated Member of Parliament Godfrey Osotsi demanded an explanation from CS Matiangi on why the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI)  is unable to enforce its own summons against Safaricom as contained in its letters dated on diverse dates between June 29, 2021 and July 15, 2021.

CS Matiang’I, stayed evasive on the matter that it would be prejudicial to the entire process noting that the number of people who have to be interviewed and the statements taken in the probing is expansive.

“This is an ongoing investigation by the DCI. A number of people have to be interviewed and record statements and the extent of the investigations is extensive and ongoing. To comment on an ongoing investigation in an open manner such as we are doing quite frankly, is to be prejudicial to the whole process of investigations,” said CS Matiangi.

The CS maintained that the law enforcement agencies would only engage with large corporations and institutions when invited in case of any nature of criminality due to the commercial contracts which are assumed as civil nature.

“I would need the guidance of the committee. Where do we draw a line between what you may call individual contracts between individuals and corporations and criminal acts? Because you see when contracts are breached which essentially  are civil matters between the contracting entity where does the law enforcement they are mentioned of the exact branch come in?”

The CS requested the committee to discuss and respond to the questions in detail without the presence of the media.

He also urged to seek guidance from the office of the Attorney General and the National Security Council owing to the nature of the matter.

“If we go open and discuss each contract and their mentions of it, I think as a public servant  and as people’s representative we are cautious of the implications of this in the long run.”

He assured the Parliamentary Departmental Committee on Administration and National Security that the matters will be determined once the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) and the DCI concludes the investigations.

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