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Economy

Move to dissolve Goldenberg was an error, says AG

Businessman Kamlesh Paul Patni testifies at the Cockar commission that investigated the controversial sale of the Grand Regency Hotel. Photo/CHRIS OJOW
Businessman Kamlesh Paul Patni testifies at the Cockar commission that investigated the controversial sale of the Grand Regency Hotel. Photo/CHRIS OJOW 

The attorney-general’s office on Wednesday claimed that a notice on the dissolution of Goldenberg International Limited — which appeared in last week’s Kenya Gazette — was an erroneous entry, adding a new twist to the two-decade long investigations into the firm that cost Kenyan taxpayers Sh20 billion.

The intended dissolution notice dated April 1, 2011 gives almost 200 companies, including Goldenberg International, 90 days to respond or be struck off the companies register.

This means that the companies will cease to exist as legal entities, complicating cases that have been filed against them and against Goldenberg International.

But on Wednesday, a statement from the State Law Office said that Goldenberg was included in the firms targeted for dissolution by mistake.

“Goldenberg International Limited was inadvertently included in the notice of intended dissolution of companies under Section 339(3) of the Companies Act,” said the statement.

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The statement said the error would be corrected in Friday's Kenya Gazette.

“A corrigenda has been issued to the Government Printer to appear in the Kenya Gazette Notice of Friday 8th April, 2011.”

News of the intended dissolution of the firms was exclusively reported by Business Daily on Tuesday.

Goldenberg International together with Exchange Bank Ltd formed the core of the Goldenberg scandal where Kenya lost about Sh20 billion under the guise of a gold and diamonds trade.

The scheme involved fictitious exports used to claim the billions in export compensation.

The centre-piece of the Goldenberg scandal lay in the Sh13.5 billion that was paid to Exchange Bank, but the bank failed to deliver forex of equivalent amount as promised.

Goldenberg International also received Sh5.8 billion export compensation for non-existent gold it allegedly exported.

The latter is subject of a criminal case while the former was settled through attachment of bank deposits and the controversial 2008 Sh3.1 billion sale of Grand Regency Hotel to Libyan government, which left CBK with a hole of Sh1.5 billion.

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