Various Company ‘Shares’
Elementary or simple investigations through public records or company secretaries would have established as fact that Nicholas Biwott does not own, and has never owned shares, or had any beneficial interest in any of these companies.
– Biwotts Lawyer
KROLL ON BIWOTT – SHARES AND COMPANY ‘INTERESTS’
KROLL ON BIWOTT – INTEREST ‘IN MANY COMPANIES’ IN KENYA
The Kenya Kroll Report alleged that Nicholas Biwott, has ‘an interest in’ many companies, including Westmont, H Young and Company, the Uhuru Highway Development Real Estate Company, BIDCO, Grand Regency Hotel, and the Sovereign Group.
DID KROLL GET IT RIGHT?
Biwott’s lawyer said: Elementary or simple investigations through public records or company secretaries would have established as fact that Nicholas Biwott does not own, and has never owned shares, or had any beneficial interest in any of these companies.
THE SOURCE INVESTIGATES…
H. YOUNG & CO
The Source has seen correspondence with to H Young & Company seeking confirmation from them that Biwott’s lawyer’s statement that his client had no shares or ‘beneficial interests in the company was true . The chairman of H Young & Co, Joseph Schwartzman, replied denying that Biwott had had any involvement with the company as a director or shareholder, directly or indirectly, since its inception.
Biwott also denied any links to this company in a public statement reported in The Daily Nation on 2 September 2007.
The Source’s research indicates that although BIDCO was one of a number of companies said to be linked to Biwott by John Githongo in a list published in 2007, the assertion was made without any reference to verifiable sources. Certainly The Source could not identify any other references to Biwott’s alleged involvement with BIDCO that predated the publication of the Kenya Kroll Report.
The Source has seen correspondence with BIDCO regarding whether Biwott has ever been involved, directly or indirectly, as a shareholder or director in the company. The response from Vimal Shah, the CEO of BIDCO Group and the group’s founder, states that Biwott had never been involved with the company.
UHURU HIGHWAY DEVELOPMENT CO
Other than publications that draw on the Kenya Kroll Report, The Source has found no further reference in the press to an entity going by the name ‘Uhuru Highway Development Co’.
Given the background, it seems likely that the Kenya Kroll Report was referring to the Uhuru Highway Development Company (‘Uhuru Highway’).
The ownership of Uhuru Highway was considered in October 2005 during the Judicial Commission of Inquiry into the Goldenberg Affair (‘the Goldenberg Inquiry’), chaired by the Hon Mr Justice Bosire JA. The findings of the Commission are set out in a report known as the ‘Bosire Report’.
According to the Bosire Report, Uhuru Highway was incorporated as a private company in 1978 and Pan African Bank acquired the shareholding from Rose-Tip Investments Ltd on 27 April 1983.
The Bosire Report states that on 12 February 1985, Uhuru Highway’s capital was divided as follows: Mohammad Aslam (1,020 shares); Daniel arap Moi (800 shares); C Kirubi (80 shares); W Murungi (60 shares); and G Lindi (40 shares).
Uhuru Highway’s company file was not produced before the Commission and was said to be unavailable in the Companies’ Registry. As a result, the Bosire Report noted the ‘mystery’ surrounding the company.
Share certificates dated 4 September 1986 and 13 March 1989 were, however, produced. According to the Bosire Report, these were both originally made out in the name of HE Daniel Toroitich arap Moi. On each certificate a line had been put through the name and ‘Hotel Enterprise & Development Management Ltd’ written above.
The Source has seen correspondence with the Companies Registry in Nairobi regarding ownership of Uhuru Highway including a letter dated 29 October 2010 from the Companies Registry which states that, according to the company’s last annual returns dated 31 December 1996, the company’s shareholders were:
Mukesh Vaya 1share
Mr Hedam 80180 shares
Pansal Investments Ltd 721,619shares
Of these, The Source has established the following:
Hedam: According to the evidence of the Kenyan businessman, Kamlesh Pattni, at the Goldenberg Inquiry on 24 June 2004, ‘Hedam’ was an acronym which stood for HE Daniel Toroitich arap Moi. Pattni said that Hedam was later substituted on a number of records with ‘Hotel Enterprises Development Management Limited’ to hide the former president’s identity. This is consistent with the evidence of former Central Bank of Kenya official, Leah Wambete, that former president Moi was Pattni’s business partner and a shareholder in Uhuru Highway.
Pansal Investments Ltd (‘Pansal’) is associated with Kamlesh Pattni, according to press reports and the evidence of a number of witnesses, including Pattni himself, at the Goldenberg Inquiry. According to Pattni’s evidence, Pansal – an acronym for Pan African Salvage – was specifically established in order to acquire the assets of the Pan African Group, which included Uhuru Highway. Pattni claimed that former president Moi together with Kotut, Kulei and Kiptanui pressurised him to buy out Mohammed Aslam’s shares to prevent details regarding former president Moi’s involvement in the bank becoming known.According to the Bosire Report, Pansal’s subscribers were listed as Nader Akrami and Mukesh Vaya. Furthermore, an article published in The Nation in November 2004, reporting on the Goldenberg Inquiry, stated that Pansal’s shareholding was largely held by Pattni. However, according to the East African Standard in June 2004, Pattni said that the company belonged to former president Moi, Joshua Kulei and Abraham Kiptanui.
The Source has found no evidence to suggest that Biwott is linked to Pansal, or indeed Uhuru Highway.
Biwott denied any links to this company in a public statement reported in The Daily Nation on 2 September 2007.
The Kenya Kroll Report claimed that Biwott owned an independent power producer company called Westmont together with Harbinder Sethi Singh. The company’s full name is Westmont Power (Kenya) Ltd, according to a number of newspaper articles.
Media reports indicate that Westmont Power (Kenya) Ltd is a subsidiary of Westmont Offshore Sdn Bhd, a Malaysian-registered company. Westmont Offshore Sdn Bhd is described as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Techno Asia, previously known as Westmont Land (Asia) Bhd, another Malaysian-registered company.
The precise ownership structure of Westmont Power (Kenya) is unclear.
According to an article published in the Nationwide Financial News on 3 June 1997, Westmont Sdn Bhd concluded an agreement to sell a 30 percent stake in Westmont Power (Kenya) Ltd to a local Kenyan company, Suntech Suppliers. However, on 27 February 2001, an article in The Daily Nation, which was reporting on proceedings in the High Court concerning Westmont Power (Kenya) Ltd, stated that its parent company in Malaysia owned 98 percent of the company.
During the course of The Source’s research we found no evidence that Biwott was a shareholder in Westmont Power (Kenya).
It was, however, reported in The Nation on 10 November 1997 that Biwott had to defend himself against accusations made in Parliament that he had a shareholding in Westmont. Although the article does not provide the company name in full, it seems likely that it was referring to Westmont Power (Kenya) Ltd, since the article reported that Price Waterhouse (now PricewaterhouseCoopers) had evaluated an agreement between Kenya Power & Lighting Company and Westmont Power (Kenya) Ltd. Price Waterhouse had, reportedly, been unable to determine the shareholding of Westmont Power (Kenya) Ltd.
Biwott denied any links to this company in a public statement reported in The East African Standard on 2 September 2007.