The Legal Implications of Failing To Reverse Erroneously Remitted Mobile Money Transactions

The Computer Misuse and Cybercrimes Act, 2018 has provided for provisions that seek to protect consumers for erroneous transactions made and states the implications for failure by the receipient to refund the said payment to the beneficiaries.

It provides various offenses relating to computer systems with the objective of enabling timely and effective, prevention, detection, prohibition, response, investigation and prosecution of computer and cybercrimes. The act further provides a means for international co-operation in dealing with computer and cybercrime matters.

One of the major challenges faced by consumers is for example a circumstance under which money is erroneously sent to the wrong receipient via Mobile Money platforms such as M-Pesa and Airtel Money or even direct through Banking applications. Section 35 of The Computer Misuse and Cybercrimes Act, 2018, if someone mistakenly sends you money via M-Pesa or any other Mobile Money platform and you fail to reverse it you risk a jail term of up to two years. You might also be sentenced to a fine not exceeding Sh200,000, or both. Therefore, withholding an M-Pesa message delivered erroneously to you is contrary to the law.

Section 36 further states that any person who unlawfully destroys or aborts any electronic mail or processes through which money or information is being conveyed commits an offence. Section 31 of the same law provides that unlawfully destroying such electronic mail can result in a more severe jail term. Further, according to Section 268 of the Penal Code, using the money mistakenly sent to you results in theft.

In the case of Republic Vs. Tony Munyoki [2023] the Court charged the accused for withholding the sum of Kenya Shillings 140,000 that was wrongfully sent to his MPesa account. The said accused was contacted by the Complainant severally but failed to respond and eventually switched off his phone for two days which prompted the complainant to lodge the complaint with the relevant authorities. The Magistrate’s Court charged the accused for contravening section 35 of the computer misuse and cybercrime Act of 2018 by deliberately withholding the cash mistakenly sent to him.


Therefore it should be noted that the provisions under the Act aim to regulate emerging technology issues such as;

  1. The unauthorised interference of computer systems,
  2. Intercepting the transmission of data,
  3. Electronic messages or money transfers over telecommunication systems;
  4. Publication of fake news;
  5. Cyber harassment; Cybersquatting; and
  6. The fraudulent use of electronic data, among others.

The Computer Misuse and Cybercrimes Act, 2018 makes provisions protecting consumers against emerging technological issues and understanding the protections offered is critical in ensuring consumers do not fall victim to the offences mentioned above.

Should you require any further information, please do not hesitate to contact

Legal Trainee