SportPesa CEO Ronald Karauri was this week declared MP-elect for Narobi's Kasarani constituency. He ran for the seat as an independent candidate after failing to clinch the Jubilee Party ticket. [Photo/ Radio Africa]
SportPesa CEO Ronald Karauri was this week declared MP-elect for Narobi's Kasarani constituency. He ran for the seat as an independent candidate after failing to clinch the Jubilee Party ticket. [Photo/ Radio Africa]

SportPesa CEO and newly-elected Kasarani MP Ronald Karauri has addressed claims that the family of outgoing President Uhuru Kenyatta orchestrated a take-over of the firm’s license.

Karauri was responding to claims shared by Dennis Itumbi, a digital communications strategist in President-elect William Ruto’s campaign. Karauri denied that a member of the Kenyatta family had been awarded the company’s Bettíng Control and Licensing Board (BCLB)-issued license.

“Hi @OleItumbi the SportPesa story you’ve been fed is fake, and whoever has been telling it has already been sued. Please talk to me before you make such statements,” Karauri tweeted on Thursday, August 18.

Itumbi had claimed that the company’s operational license had been awarded by the regulator to a member of the Kenyatta family in what he described as ‘a clear théft of intellectual property’. Besides the post by Itumbi, unverified reports have been widely circulated across social media claiming that the Kenyatta family was involved in a plot to take over key SportPesa assets.

While it is unclear which suit Karauri was referencing in his response to Itumbi, the Kasarani MP has been at the centre of legal tussles involving the SportPesa brand and the industry regulator.

READ ALSO>>SportPesa CEO Ronald Karauri Enters Parliament

Karauri has been battling in court to have Milestone Games, in which he owns a majority stake, allowed to continue using the SportPesa brand. The transfer of the trademarks and domain to Milestone from Pevans East Africa was vehemently opposed by a section of early Pevans East Africa shareholders led by Asenath Wachera Maina and Paul Ndung’u.

Pevans EA was the company that brought SportPesa to the market. According to Maina, Karauri and other shareholders of Pevans and UK-based multinational SportPesa Global Holdings Limited (SPGHL), which owns subsidiaries in other markets, conspired and transferred the SportPesa trademark to Milestone which is using the brand in the Kenyan market after Pevans ceased operations.

Between 2014 and 2018, the firm’s cumulative revenues stood at Ksh228.4 billion.

SportPesa ceased operations in the Kenyan market in 2019 at the height of  a crackdown on the sector by the government and reported unpaid taxes. SportPesa, however, made a comeback in 2020 after the brand was transferred to Milestone.

READ MORE>>Karauri’s Fight for Billion-Dollar SportPesa Brand

 

 

 

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