Paul Ndung’u removed from SportPesa boards


Paul Wanderi Ndung’u (left) and Sportpesa CEO Ronald Karauri. FILE PHOTOS | NMG

Businessman Paul Wanderi Ndung’u has been removed from the boards of the international businesses of gaming firm SportPesa.

The move marks the latest escalation of the fallout between Mr Ndung’u and his fellow shareholders.

SportPesa Global Holdings Limited (SPGHL), which owns SportPesa’s businesses outside Kenya, filed a notice in the United Kingdom on January 7, 2021 announcing the termination of Mr Ndung’u as a director.

SPS Sportsoft Limited, a fully-owned subsidiary of SPGHL and which provides gaming technology, also filed a similar notice on the same day communicating the removal of Mr Ndung’u as a director.

The filings did not give reasons for his ouster. The Kenyan businessman fell out with other shareholders in 2017, with the trouble starting in the local market where SportPesa used to operate through Pevans East Africa.

Mr Ndung’u and Asenath Maina, who own a combined 38 percent stake in Pevans, have accused the company’s chief executive Ronald Karauri and the foreign investors of locking them out of the firm’s management and strategic decisions since 2017.

They have also alleged that Pevans has made irregular cash transfers running into billions of shillings to offshore accounts, adding that they have been fraudulently diluted in the ownership of the SPGHL.

Mr Ndung’u, for instance, is now listed as owning 2.83 percent of SPGHL according to the latest available disclosures made on January 20, 2020. This is down from the 17 percent stake he held previously.

Mr Karauri and other directors of Pevans and SPGHL last year transferred the SportPesa trade name to Milestone Games Limited which has revived the popular gaming brand amid battles with the Betting Control and Licensing Board (BCLB).

Milestone, in which Mr Karauri owns a 54.4 percent stake, has remained in business by stringing together a series of temporary court orders suspending the cancellation of its operating licence by BCLB.

“My removal as a director now means that only Ivaylo Bozoukov and Kalina Karadzhova are the directors of SPGHL where they made a fraudulent and unprocedural transfer of SportPesa trade name,” Mr Ndung’u said.