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Corporate

Scandals that rocked the corporate world

From left, Dawood Rawat, Jonathan Ciano and Ben
From left, Dawood Rawat, Jonathan Ciano and Ben Gethi. PHOTOS | FILE 

A look at claims that have sent company chiefs packing or before court.

Jonathan Ciano

He is under the spotlight following revelations that former Uchumi Supermarkets executives manipulated financial statements to the tune of Sh1.04 billion in the last three years of his tenure.

The listed retailer, while announcing full year results to June 2015, said former management led by Ciano who was CEO cooked books to puff earnings, giving a false picture of Uchumi’s financial health.

Mr Ciano was named following a preliminary forensic audit into Uchumi’s books of account by KPMG.

The Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Kenya (Icpak), the professional watchdog, is seeking a copy of the forensic report to open a disciplinary probe and impeach Mr Ciano, who is also the regulatory body’s disciplinary committee chairman.

Mr Ciano— who helped revive Uchumi after the retailer was declared insolvent on June 1, 2006—was ousted in June alongside chief finance officer Chadwick Omondi Okumu in what the board termed “gross misconduct” and “gross negligence.”

Ben Gethi

The controversial businessman was in November charged in court as being among the beneficiaries of the Sh791 million stolen from the National Youth Service (NYS) in fictitious payments.

The Banking Fraud Investigation Unit (BFIU) says in court filings that Mr Gethi and other suspected beneficiaries wired funds to lawyers who then purchased property on their behalf, with some of the legal agents registering property in their law firms’ names to ward off attention.

Mr Gethi’s accounts have already been frozen and the government is racing to seize the assets of his accomplices, including businesswoman Josephine Kabura, John Kago and lawyers Patrick Ogola and Marin Muthomi.

Dawood Rawat

The single-largest shareholder of Britam had his entire stake seized by the government of Mauritius in April for allegedly perpetrating a $693 million (Sh70.8 billion) Ponzi scheme in the Indian Ocean Island nation.

Mr Rawat, through his investment vehicle British-American (Kenya) Holdings Limited (BAKHL), previously owned a 23 per cent stake in Britam.

The island economy is currently shopping for a buyer to acquire the Britam stake, which is currently valued at Sh6.1 billion, to compensate investors who lost cash in the alleged pyramid scheme.

The businessman is accused of running the grand Ponzi scheme through a Mauritian insurer, British American Insurance Co (Mauritius), which had a knock on effect on Bramer Banking Corporation (BBCL) and other Rawat holdings.

The scandal forced Britam to clip veto powers earlier held by Mr Rawat by deleting from its articles of association the clause that gave the fugitive a final say on the appointment of Britam’s CEO and finance director.

Hassan Zubeidi

The founder and chairman of Dubai Bank, which was placed under receivership in August by the regulator, is alleged to have used depositors’ funds to guarantee his private companies to the tune of Sh1.6 billion.

The Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) says in court documents seeking to freeze Mr Zubedi’s bank accounts and assets that it discovered that he amassed substantial wealth through irregular insider lending deals he covered up by cooking books.

The regulator argues in court that Mr Zubedi pillaged customers’ deposits to guarantee his firm, Africa Energy Limited, €12 million (Sh1.39 billion) and $2 million (Sh205 million) without security.

Peter Kebati

Mumias Sugar Company moved to court in February seeking to recover a total of Sh1.1 billion from its former CEO Peter Kebati and three other executives who are alleged to have plundered the sugar miller through an illegal sugar import deal.

Mr Kebati was sacked in June last year following accusations of abetting shipment of cheap sugar from Sudan’s Kenana Sugar Company, which was later re-sold under the listed firm’s brand. Mumias makes the allegations in court papers.

Abdulmalek Janmohamed

He is alleged to have fraudulently transferred Sh34 billion from depositors’ cash to his entities and bank accounts between 2002 and September 15, 2015 when he died, according to court filings.

The Central Bank of Kenya unexpectedly placed Imperial Bank under receivership on October 13, citing “unsafe and unsound conditions to transact business” linked to Mr Janmohamed’s parallel banking at the mid-tier lender which had Sh58 billion in customer deposits.

To execute the decade-old scheme, Mr Janmohamed enlisted the services of Imperial Bank’s head of credit Naeem Shah and chief finance officer James Kaburu, documents filed at the High Court show.

The 56-year -old banking executive pulled off the elaborate scheme and only his death opened a Pandora’s box into his deceptive dealings.
The court documents say that Mr Janmohamed wired the cash to related companies and bank accounts.

Alex Mutungi Mutuku

The 26-year-old techie has been accused of airtime theft at Safaricom and is also facing separate criminal charges for hacking into NIC Bank’s core system. Mr Mutuku alongside two others are accused of hacking into the bank’s customer database and obtaining sensitive customer information for which he demanded to be paid the equivalent of Sh6.2 million in bitcoin, a virtual currency. He is also charged with stealing Sh2.88 million belonging to NIC Bank. He is further said to have manipulated Safaricom’s computer system to steal electronic airtime worth Sh20,000.

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