Economy

Trader seeks to block trial over botched Sh102m beer deal

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Summary

  • A New Zealand investor has moved to court to block his prosecution over claims of pocketing Sh102 million in a botched beer supply deal.
  • Mr Christopher White, the director of Danish Brewing Company E. A. and King Beverage alleges that he was unfairly being pursued by the police over a civil commercial dispute.
  • In the petition, Mr White wants the court to suspend intended criminal charges against him, pending the determination of the case.

A New Zealand investor has moved to court to block his prosecution over claims of pocketing Sh102 million in a botched beer supply deal.

Mr Christopher White, the director of Danish Brewing Company E. A. and King Beverage alleges that he was unfairly being pursued by the police over a civil commercial dispute.

In the petition, Mr White wants the court to suspend intended criminal charges against him, pending the determination of the case.

He says that he entered a deal with Patiala Distributor Ltd for the supply of 30,000 cases of Tuborg Beer in December 2019.

He was he was paid Sh102 million but because of space constraints in Patiala’s own warehouses, the latter took 10,000 cases of beer and asked him to keep the remaining beer.

The businessman, who currently holds exclusive distributorship rights of Carlsberg beer in Kenya, said due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the buyer (Patiala) was slow in selling the beer and by the time the 20,000 cases were being cleared, the contract was nearing expiry.

“After several discussions and negotiations with Patiala, the Petitioners agreed to refund the monies paid by Patiala,” he said.

But in October 2020 last year, while his company was discussing with a director of Patiala other deals, armed police officers stormed the premises and allegedly arrested him over allegations of possession of illegal firearms.

He was later questioned and told of the charges of obtaining money by false pretense. He said whereas he intends to refund the money, Patiala has no interest in the refund of their monies as demonstrated by their actions of criminalising the debt.

“The 2nd and 3rd Petitioners currently hold exclusive distributorship rights as the distributors of Carlberg beer in Kenya. Patiala seeks to take commercial advantage by criminalising the issue of the outstanding 20,000 cases of beer in order to put intense pressure on the 1st Petitioner to procure that the 2nd and 3rd Petitioners assign their rights in the distributorship agreement with Carlsberg beer to Patiala,” he claims in the court documents.

The businessman also wants Inspector General of Police Hillary Mutyambai and Director of Criminal Investigations George Kinoti ordered to release his passport.

“It is just that the court should suspend the proceedings in the criminal case to preserve the Petitioners’ right to have the petition heard and determined,” he submitted.

The businessman further claims adverse publicity and allegations of a criminal nature when no such intent or conduct exists has the capacity to ruin his reputation, thereby adversely affecting his investments and his right to dignity.

He claims he was unlawfully arrested, detained, and harassed over what is a purely civil and commercial dispute.

“The Petitioners have never denied and indeed, categorically admit the existence of the relationship between Patiala and the Petitioners in relation to the supply of the 30,000 cases of beer and payments made by Patiala,” he said.

He said his business has been adversely affected by Covid-19 pandemic, due to closure of bars and the varying curfew times imposed by the government to control the spread of virus.