Cytonn Investments managers have moved to quell concerns by investors over a lawsuit linking them to the loss of Ksh1.2 billion at the British Investments Company (Britam) by saying the latter has no chance of winning the legal battle.
During a meeting with investors on September 29, 2018, Cytonn chief executive Edwin Dande, Head of Private Equity Real Estate Shiv Arora and Chief Investments Officer Elizabeth Nkukuu took turns explaining how every dime of the Ksh 1.2 billion at the heart of the tussle between them and Britam was spent.
“No money was lost and there is no chance that Britam can succeed in its claims. The claim is false, malicious and meant to shake the confidence of our clients in order to distract us from our core business,” said Mr. Dande.
For four years now, numerous court cases between Cytonn and Britam have raised serious concerns with Cytonn investors, staff and clients. The negative publicity that has accompanied the legal battles has also shaken investor confidence.
In February 2014, Britam accused Mr. Dande, Mr. Arora and Ms. Nkukuu as well as Cytonn Company Secretary Patricia Njeri Wanjama of fraudulently transferring Ksh3.94 billion to Acorn Group Ltd but later revised the amount to the current Ksh1.2 billion.
The three managers moved to the Court of Appeal on September 15, 2018 after the High Court declined to give orders stopping their prosecution on September 11, 2018.
According to the three managers, the High Court erred in its decision insisting that the case against them is weak and lacks any basis.
“To make the disbursement, it was signed by Shiv as investment analyst, Elizabeth as our senior portfolio manager and Edwin as CEO. Our only role was to instruct the fund administrator, Tri Pro of Mauritius to transfer the funds to the accounts that were jointly being controlled by Britam and Acorn,” the managers told Business Today.
The managers further fault Britam’s move to drag Ms. Wanjama’s name into the alleged fraud, saying she played no role in the transferring of the funds.
According to the Cytonn managers, Britam’s only intention is to “punish” Cytonn’s founders.
Business Today has accessed bank statements from Cytonn detailing how the money was wired from Standard Chartered Bank in Mauritius to Equity Bank in Kenya which was then disbursed to different Chase Bank (currently under receivership) accounts held by Britam.
The money wired from Mauritius was acquired from Finnish Fund Taaleri. Mauritius was the preferred destination because of its tax treaty with Kenya hence avoiding double taxation.
The Ksh1.2 billion was meant to fund five different Britam projects that the three managers were overseeing.
The first Ksh9.9 million was disbursed to Edenvale Developments LLP, a student housing project sitting on a 0.4 acre piece on Jogoo Road, Nairobi.
Another Ksh42.2 million was disbursed to Starling Park Properties LLP, a real estate project on a 0.7 acre piece of land on Gitanga Road, Nairobi.
The third Ksh43.3 million disbursement was made to Crimson Court Developments LLP a real estate project on Riara Road, Nairobi.
Sinopia Properties LLP received Ksh150 .7 million, a project sitting on a 202.9 acre piece of land located in Ollolooitikosh Town.
The final Ksh915.4 million disbursement was made to Mikado Properties LLP a a real estate development sitting on a 28.4 acre piece of land in Mavoko on Mombasa Road.
Mr.Dande however says that Cytonn is engaging Britam to find an amicable solution to the saga.