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Mauritius keeps Sh58m Britam shares seized in Ponzi scandal

Dawood Rawat
Mr Dawood Rawat. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

The government of Mauritius continues to hold 8.2 million shares of Britam Holdings #ticker:BRIT valued at Sh58 million seized in 2015 from its citizen Dawood Rawat whom it accused of running a Ponzi scheme in the island nation.

Mr Rawat had acquired a total of 460 million shares in the insurer through two investment vehicles — British American (Kenya) Holdings (452.5 million shares) and BAI Co (Mauritius) Limited (8.2 million shares).

Mauritius seized all the assets in the wake of the alleged Sh71 billion fraud and sold the 452.5 million shares in 2016 to a consortium led by businessman Peter Munga.

Mr Munga subsequently sold the shares to Zurich-based insurance giant Swiss Re and other investors between 2017 and last year. Latest regulatory filings for July shows that the government of Mauritius continues to hold the other 8.2 million shares that have a current market value of Sh58 million.

The shares, previously held by BAI Co (Mauritius) Limited, are now owned by National Insurance Company Ltd that was part of new companies established by the Mauritius government to inherit Mr Rawat’s assets. This means that National Insurance, which offers life cover and pension products, is keeping the Britam stake as part of its investment portfolio.

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“The National Insurance Company and National Insurance Company General were set up by the government and licensed by the Financial Services Commission of Mauritius in 2015 to take over the former BAI and to undertake long-term and general insurance businesses respectively,” Mauritius’ Finance ministry said in disclosures seen by Business Daily.

“Pursuant to Section 110B of the Insurance Act 2005, the undertakings of BAI Co. (Mauritius) Ltd were transferred to these entities, including its portfolio of policies, clients, workforce, distribution channels, systems, intellectual property and over 45 years of insurance capability and expertise in local and overseas markets.”

Britam says it has not been involved in the share dealings between the State of Mauritius and private investors.

The price at which the Munga consortium bought and sold the shares 452.5 million shares has not been disclosed. Besides Swiss Re, Britam has recently attracted new prominent institutional investors including International Finance Corporation and private equity firm AfricInvest.

The Indian Ocean island seized the assets of Mr Rawat in April 2015 after accusing him of running a Ponzi scheme through a Mauritian insurer.

The Mauritian government sold the shares and said the proceeds would help repay those who lost money in the Ponzi scheme.

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