Following a shareholder feud with his French and South African partners, former Lancet Kenya CEO Ahmed Kalebi is seeking Sh3.6 billion as payout from the laboratory services firm.
As a result, Dr Kalebi has sued the Kenyan corporation and its stockholders, as well as the French firm Cebra Healthcare and the South African Lancet Service Company.
The complainant believes the majority shareholders excluded him from Lancet operations, including CEO appointments, while lowering his shareholding from 20% to 10%.
“I have been on record since 2010 and over the years to date demanding my sweat equity to be compensated, but the board of directors under the majority shareholder have been blatantly ignoring the matter all these 10-12 years, and ultimately rejected the claim for sweat compensation upon my exit in April 2021 from the directorship and management of the company,” Dr Kalebi says.
“The plaintiff’s claim against the defendants jointly and or severally is for liquidated claim of Kshs3,587,641,559 plus general damages.”
Sweat equity is a non-monetary benefit that a company’s stakeholders give in labour and time, rather than a monetary contribution that benefits the company.
For this, the pathologist is demanding Sh1.16 billion for having built the firm and the brand.
Dr. Kalebi is seeking Sh100 million in dividends, a share valuation of Sh919.7 million, Sh19.2 million in salary in lieu of yearly leave, Sh643 million in unpaid overtime, Sh19.2 million in leave allowance, Sh54.8 million in unpaid bonus, and Sh14.5 million in unpaid gratuity.
He is also requesting Sh567 million in exit compensation. He claims to have calculated the amount based on global practice in the United Kingdom, the United States, Europe, and South Africa.
Through lawyer Donald Kipkorir, Dr Kalebi has accused his South African and French partners of keeping him in the dark about the Kenyan firm’s operations, despite his 20 percent ownership.
“Under the direction of the South African and French partners, the local company has refused to share with him information on the financial performance, from the time he left on mutual agreement despite being a local minority shareholder of the local companies and entitled to the information,” he adds.
Dr Kalebi further alleges that since he left, the partners have engaged into transactions and continued to impose costs paid by the parent firms without alerting him, despite the fact that he is still a minority shareholder in the local company.
“These transactions and actions are being done to the continued detriment of the plaintiff as the minority shareholder impacting negatively on the plaintiff’s dividend claim from the 4th defendant [PLK] and also impacting negatively on the plaintiff’s liquidated share value in the 4th defendant,” he says.
The complainant who founded the firm in 2009, had until April 30, 2021 when his employment expired been working as East Africa CEO and chief consultant pathologist.
Dr Kalebi started Lancet in 2009 as a splinter of the South African company, operating under Pathologist Lancet Kenya (PLK) and Lancet Services Company (LSC).
Later in 2019, France-based multinational Cerba Healthcare bought substantive shares in South Africa’s Lancet Laboratories which saw it control the East African unit.