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Reprieve for Cytonn bosses in Britam suit

Edwin Dande
Cytonn Investments CEO Edwin Dande. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

The High Court has mandated financial services group British American Asset Managers to allow its former managers access of all relevant information from the company in a case in which they are charged with theft.

Former managers Edwin Dande, Elizabeth Nkukuu, Patricia Wanjama and Shiv Arora, who later founded rival firm Cytonn Investments are facing prosecution over alleged irregular sums from Britam-affiliated accounts to rival companies.

The four were in 2016 charged with the criminal offence relating to Sh1.1 billion theft by servants.

They had petitioned the court to compel Britam to provide the information regarding to the transactions.

In a ruling dated February 23, justice Chacha Mwita said that Britam’s claim that providing access to the information sought will be prejudicial to their business is unfounded.

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“I find the respondents contention that allowing access will be prejudicial to their commercial interests unpersuasive given the nature of the information sought,” ruled the judge.

Some of the information the four managers have been seeking to buttress their case include a settlement agreement entered into between BAAM and Acorn Group and a forensic audit conducted by KPMG on the books of BAAM.

Britam #ticker:BRIT will also be compelled to provide information on a legal audit performed by Coulson Harney.

The case is one of the biggest disputes in corporate Kenya involving an NSE-listed firm and its former managers.

The four managers have told the court that they never benefited from the cash and that the issue had been resolved after Britam and property development group Acorn and seven of its affiliates reached a settlement.

The former managers have claimed that the suit is meant to taint their image, arguing that although civil suits were filed in the High Court the case has been settled and the cash involved refunded.

Mr Dande, now chief executive of investment firm Cytonn, and his team are accused of wiring Sh1.16 billion out of Britam in five tranches to multiple accounts held by Acorn at Chase Bank and a further Sh2.78 billion to seven entities that are subsidiaries of Acorn.

BAAM filed suit at High court to recover the cash.

The former managers have vigorously denied the accusations. The Cytonn executives defended the transfer of Sh3.9 billion from BAAM’s accounts, arguing that the said financial transactions were approved by all of their former employer’s board and top management.

Mr Dande has filed in court copies of emails and meeting minutes he insists are evidence that Mr Wairegi and directors of Britam, including Mr Jimnah Mbaru and Mr Peter Munga, were aware of BAAM’s dealings with partners and clients.

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