Mike Njeru saracen media
Mike Njeru, Transcend Chairman, led the raid on rival's premises. Photo: Collins Kweyu / Star

Saracen Media’s offices were r**d on Wednesday by a rival company whose agents confiscated computers in what appears to be a spillover from the battle for Safaricom’s advertising billions.

Transcend Media, an advertising agency, owned by Mike Njeru, accuses Saracen Media, which recently won Ksh1.2 billion worth of advertising business from Safaricom, of copyright infringement linked to the current BLAZE campaign run by Saracen to connect with the youthful market.

BLAZE is a platform that seeks to empower youth using the power of mobile, targeting the fast-growing 18-26 demographic with specialised platform that includes custom-made tariffs and product offerings. BLAZE – which cost Ksh700 million to conceptualise, develop and was launched on May 27th – is sub-brand of Safaricom, which describes it as a first-of-its-kind product that was co-created with the target audience over the course of a year.

SEE VIDEO OF R**D AT THE BOTTOM

Transcend obtained a c*********r signed by Milimani senior magistrate EK Usui to seize computers and documents from Saracen pending a copyright hearing set for June 17.  The r**d was executed by five police officers Saracen’s offices in Lavington. They were led by Njeru, Transcend Media Operations manager Lai Muthoka and lawyer Maingi Musyimi.

Transcend Media has sued Saracen alongside Fieldstone Helms and Thomas Omanga for infringement of copyright. They seized eight laptops which were taken to the Kenya Copyright Board enforcement offices.

RELATED >> See Saracen response to the r**d

Saracen has denied any breach of copyright. According to industry insiders the r**d was calculated to taint Saracen’s image and interfere with e*******n of the BLAZE campaign. “Since our establishment in October 2002,” Saracen director Sammy Thuo said, “Saracen Media OMD has grown to be a leading and credible digital media and communications planning agency in Africa.  His co-director Lenny Ng’ang’a was also present during the r**d.

“As an affiliate to the world’s largest marketing communications network, we uphold high corporate philosophy and integrity and pride ourselves in our dynamic and highly competent team. We are committed to upholding the highest ethical business standards and will continue to do so as we seek to resolve this regrettable matter.”

Transcend in January 2014 lost a tender for Safaricom’s lucrative advertising contract to Scanad despite Transcend winning the technical evaluation. Safaricom denied it business concerned that Transcend had political baggage that did not augur well with Safaricom’s business ethics.

Mr Njeru, the chairman of Transend,  is allegedly one of the brokers behind the alleged payment of Sh200 million to Justice Philip Tunoi to influence the Supreme Court judgment on Ferdinand Waititu’s appeal to annul Evans Kidero’s election as Nairobi Governor.

SEE ALSO >> Profile – Just who is this man Mike Njeru?

In February, Saracen won a contract from Safaricom to handle youth advertising, beating Transcend and other agencies. Saracen then in April poached four staff from Transcend, which raised temperatures at Transcend.

Advertising industry observers say Transcend may be acting on suspicion that Saracen had received creative ideas used in their pitch for the Safaricom business. But Saracen managers insist none of Transcend’s original content was brought by the new staff.

Video Source: NairobiNews.co.ke




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