The bitter exchange between Britam former investment manager Edwin Dande and his former boss Benson Wairegi seems to be coming back, after Wairegi floated new allegations.
In a recent interview with Business Daily, Wairegi who is about to retire, termed the squabbles with his former employees as a matter of “values and integrity”, something that did not augur well with Mr Dande.
“When we ran into a problem with some of my employees here and we had to go to court because it was a matter of values and integrity. I’m an introvert, publicity-shy and going to court, before cameras, newspapers writing about you…That made me feel really really naked,” he said.
In a Facebook post, Dande responded by accusing him of fabricating a multi-billion case based on non-existent audit reports, that have never been produced to date.
“With all due respect you can’t fabricate allegations of theft of billions based on non existent audits “from KPMG and Couslon Harney” and still talk of values and integrity,” wrote Dande.
“I successfully sued for the release of those non existent audits, and Britam remains in contempt of court orders up to today… 2 years since the high court ordered the release of the so called forensic audits. Those audits don’t exist, it was an attempt to confuse the investing public. Just stop,” he added.
Britam had sued its former employees Edwin Dande, Elizabeth Nkukuu, Shiv Arora and Particia Njeri accusing them of theft of Ksh1.2 billion but the case later collapsed for lack of evidence.
The four, upon leaving, formed Cytonn Investment which has interest in real estate and asset management.
In his ruling on February 22, 2019, Justice Chacha Mwita found that Britam violated the Dande and his team’s rights under Article 35(1)(b) of the Constitution as read with section 4(1)(b) of the Access to information Act No 31 of 2016 for not providing the audit reports that revealed the alleged theft.
“An order is hereby issued compelling the respondents to provide the petitioners with the forensic audit conducted by KPMG on the books of BAAM as mentioned in paragraph 5 of Ms Carol Akinyi Ouko-Misiko’s witness statement sworn on 27th October 2014 and filed in HCCC No 354 of 2014 and the legal audit performed by Messrs Coulson Harney of all transactions handled by the petitioners as referred to in paragraph 17 of Mr Jude Anyiko’s affidavit sworn on 27th October 2016 and filed in HCCC No. 354 of 2014,” ruled Justice Mwita.
In their submissions, Britam argued that releasing the audits would be “prejudicial to their commercial interests”, which the judge found unpersuasive.
“I find the respondents’ contention that allowing access will be prejudicial to their commercial interests unpersuasive given the nature of the information sought. This is because the Constitution and the law place a positive obligation on the state and other persons to give information in their possession for purposes of exercising or protecting rights or fundamental freedoms,” ruled Mwita.
Reached for a comment, Dande said that Wairegi filed a report with the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) based on lies, “since no such theft existed”.
“Benson (Wairegi) can’t be talking about integrity and values because he personally filed a complaint at DCI based on lies. He lied that there had been theft, he knows there was none. He lied that there had been audits by KPMG and Coulson Harney, he knows there was none. I petitioned the High Court which ordered those so called audits released, Britam remains in violation of court orders up-to today. The matter cannot be left hanging, it involves allegations around money, hence reputations. They have to release the audits otherwise one day I will just ask the judge to commit every single one of their directors to jail for contempt of court,” said Edwin.
You can read the ruling here.