Lift SportPesa contempt order, urges BCLBFriday August 19 2022
The Betting Control and Licensing Board (BCLB) wants the High Court to review a ruling that found its board members in contempt of court over claims of interfering with the affairs of betting firm SportPesa.
BLCB board members Sabrina Kanini, Peter Kanaiya, and Paul Njaga argue that they were not aware of the application by SportPesa (operated by Milestone Games Limited) and the subsequent order issued in February this year, which found them in contempt of court.
They claim Milestone and a State counsel later reached an agreement on the matter but the board was never informed of the deal for approval.
“There are various errors apparent on the face of the record and sufficient reasons as detailed in the grounds above to warrant the review and setting aside of the ruling,” Ms Kanini said in a sworn statement.
In a ruling in February this year, the court found that BCLB board members were in contempt of court for allegedly disobeying orders given in December 2020.
Then, Justice Pauline Nyamweya (now the Court of Appeal judge) issued an order restraining BCLB from interfering with the affairs of Milestone.
The dispute started in 2020 when Milestone obtained a court order restraining the regulator from interfering with its business.
On November 24, 2020, BCLB wrote to Milestone asking the company to show cause why its license should not be cancelled.
This was after the regulator accused the company of changing its ownership structure without approval besides irregularly taking over the SportPesa brand from Pevans East Africa which was the first to use the trademark in the country.
But on December 2, 2020, Milestone moved to court and obtained a temporary order, barring BCLB from interfering with its operations.
The company argued that the order meant that it could continue with its operations using the SportPesa brand pending the hearing and determination of the matter.
Milestone said despite the court orders, the regulator continued to frustrate its operations.
Ms Kanini of BCLB said in the latest application that there are plans for the consent to be filed in court for adoption, yet it is “illegal, fraudulent and an aberration of justice”.
“That the court be pleased to lift and discharge unconditionally forthwith the order in the impugned ruling dated and signed on the 17th February 2022 holding the applicants and other members of the board of the betting Control and Licensing Board in contempt of court,” she said.