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Cytonn executives accuse Britam of harassment in fresh suit

Cytonn CEO Edwin Dande with chief investment officer Elizabeth Nkukuu. PHOTO | FILE
Cytonn CEO Edwin Dande with chief investment officer Elizabeth Nkukuu. PHOTO | FILE 

Executives of Cytonn Investments have claimed in a new court petition that their former employer, Britam, has been harassing them for founding a competing firm.

Cytonn’s CEO Edwin Dande, chief investment officer Elizabeth Nkukuu, head of legal Patricia Wanjama and financial controller claim that criminal complaints Britam has filed against them are attempts to paint them as fraudsters.

They also claim that Britam has refused to furnish them with crucial documents including audits that would help the Cytonn executives prove that they did not illegally transfer any funds from their former employer’s coffers.

Britam is yet to respond to the suit.

Cytonn wants Britam compelled to furnish it with a forensic audit report carried out on the fund manager’s books, and a legal audit done on Britam’s transactions to establish whether the disputed transfer of funds was illegal as claimed by the fund manager.

Illegal transfer

Mr Dande holds that the sums Britam claims were illegally transferred by its former employees were already recovered from another firm—Acorn Group.

He says the Sh5 billion was transferred to Acorn’s accounts with the knowledge and approval of top Britam officials.

Britam recovered the sums in a settlement that saw it withdraw five civil suits filed against Cytonn, Acorn and several subsidiaries that were to be used to carry out a number of real estate projects.

The Cytonn CEO says despite obtaining a temporary court order barring the arrest and prosecution of the four former Britam employees, police have proceeded to prepare charge sheets to arraign them in court.

Settlement agreement

“Your petitioners therefore prays for an order compelling Britam to provide them with the settlement agreement between Britam and Acorn Group and the legal audit performed by Coulson Harney of all transactions handled by Mr Dande, Ms Wanjama, Ms Nkukuu and Mr Arora,” Mr Dande says.

Britam has also filed complaints against Ms Nkukuu, Mr Arora and Ms Wanjama before the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Kenya (ICPAK), Institute of Certified Financial Analysts and the Law Society of Kenya (LSK) respectively, as it seeks the deregistration of its former employees.

Mr Dande reveals in the suit that a joint venture between Britam and Acorn was the source of a fallout that saw him, Ms Nkukuu, Ms Wanjama and Mr Arora exit Britam to found their own company—Cytonn Investments.

Britam claims that the Cytonn executives founded Cytonn, a competitor, while still working for it hence creating an illegal conflict of interest.

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