Big Blow to Safaricom and Saracen Media as Court admits Crucial Evidence in the Shs 1.2 Billion Intellectual Property Theft Case

Chief Magistrate P.N Gesora rejected an application by Saracen Media to have part of evidence produced by Transcend Media struck from court records.

The high-profile “theft of intellectual property” case involving Safaricom PLC and communication firms Saracen Media and Transcend Media is now set to go for full trial after a court admitted crucial evidence from the Kenya Copyrights Board.

Chief Magistrate P.N Gesora of Milimani Commercial Court rejected an application by Saracen Media (defendant) to have part of evidence produced by Transcend Media (plaintiff) struck from court records.

Saracen Media was opposed to the admission of a supplementary affidavit from Transcend Media which relied on a forensic report prepared by Kenya Copyrights Board.

“In the end I find no merit in this application and proceed to dismiss it with costs to the Plaintiff/Respondent,” Gesora ruled.

Transcend Media has sued Safaricom PLC and Saracen Media for Shs 1.2 Billion over breach of copyrights and theft of intellectual property involving a youth campaign dubbed Blaze which was awarded to Saracen Media .

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Daniel Ndaba of Safaricom PLC

Transcend Media contends that it had won the lucrative deal but Safaricom PLC irregularly awarded it to Saracen Media, which partnered with Fieldstone Helms Limited, a firm formed during the tender process by then Transcend Media employees staff.

Acting on a court order, Kenya Copyright Board and Police officers had raided Saracen Media offices and carted away computer equipment. Kenya Copyrights Board then took the equipment to CID Cybercrime department for analysis.

After analysis, it was Kenya Copyrights Board concluded that Saracen Media infringed on Transcend Media’s Intellectual Property rights.

Saracen Media then filed the application challenging the evidence sourced from the computers seized from its offices.

In an affidavit by director Sammy Thuo, Saracen Media said an affidavit by Transcend Media director Lai Muthoka relying on a forensic report by Kenya Copyrights Board was “scandalous and oppressive”.

“Kenya Copyrights Board in blatant disregard of court order surrendered Saracen Media computers to CID Cyber-crime Department for purported investigations,” said Thuo. “Consequently, CID furnished a computer forensics report dated 13th October 2016.”

The said forensics report indicated that Saracen media substantially used Transcend Media’s Intellectual Property to develop communication and creative strategy for the said Blaze campaign.


Police raid of Saracen Media offices

In his ruling, the magistrate said it was premature to strike out the supplementary affidavit.

“The courts are concerned with arriving at a just conclusion in any matter before it,” he said. “The more information tabled before it the better as this will go a long way in arriving at this constitutional obligation.”

Gesora added that Saracen Media had not demonstrated the prejudice it would suffer.

He added: “Furthermore, the directions by the court were silent on how the evidence was to be extracted and/or processed.”

Safaricom PLC this week appointed the no-nonsense former boss Michael Joseph to act as CEO.