KAA dismisses tycoon’s claim in Bluebird ownership battle


Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi. FILE PHOTO | NMG

The Kenya Airports Authority (KAA) has dismissed a complaint by an owner of Bluebird Aviation that his co-directors have been using permits that grant them access to restricted areas in airports to move more than a Sh1 billion abroad.

Adan Yussuf, the Bluebird Aviation part owner, claimed in letter to the KAA that the three directors were using the airport passes to facilitate money laundering and asked that the authority cancel the permits.

But the KAA says investigations by a multi-agency team revealed that the three Blue Bird shareholders — Hussein Farah, Unshur Mohamed and Mohamed Abdikadir — were not using Kenyan airports for financial crimes.

Mr Yussuf, who claims to own 25 per cent of the charter airline, has in the past three years been locked in a vicious court fight with the trio for control of the 27-year-old firm with a fleet of more than 21 planes.

The KAA says Mr Yussuf failed to provide evidence linking the use of security passes to money laundering at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport.

“The multi-agency team has made every effort to gather any evidence on the allegations, but found none,” the KAA said in a letter to Mr Yussuf. “We find no basis to either confiscate, withdraw, cancel or blacklist the said passes or permits.”

Sources at the KAA say the multi-agency team included detectives and National Intelligence Services (NIS) officers.

Mr Yussuf had also made similar claims in a court suit where he sought to wind up Bluebird Aviation. He has since moved to the Supreme Court after failing to have a High Court decision that rejected the petition overturned on appeal.

In the petition filed in March 2016, Mr Yussuf claimed that the other three directors excluded him from company’s affairs, misappropriated funds, failed to hold shareholder meetings and never paid him a dividend.

His fellow directors, through court documents, have dismissed him as a reckless shareholder keen on damaging the firm and the reputation of its directors to pressure them to buy him out on his terms.

The directors say Mr Yussuf failed to offer proof of theft at Bluebird, terming his claims malicious and speculative.

They told the court it is impossible to siphon and transport more than a Sh1 billion physically for deposits and investments in Western capital banks without being detected under current global money laundering rules.

The shareholders argued that Bluebird books of accounts audited by Deloitte have always been available for Mr Yussuf’s inspection despite the tycoon’s position that he has no knowledge of the firm’s financial records.