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‘Theft’ Case Against Former Employees Spells Doom For Britam CEO Benson Wairegi

Britam CEO Benson Wairegi. [PHOTO/ COURTESY]

Britam CEO Benson Wairegi is not seated pretty after it emerged that his bosses are deliberating on showing him the door over ‘silly’ mistakes made in the past five years.

We have established that Wairegi’s troubles started back in 2014, when Britam accused four of its former employees of theft of billions of shillings, to the tune of ksh1.2 billion, and sought to file criminal complaints against them.

Britam said the theft was discovered after audits done by accounting firm KPMG and law firm Coulson Harney.

The four former employees claimed that no such theft had happened and wrote to Britam asking them to disclose the said reports. Britam refused to disclose the audit reports and the four former employees then filed a lawsuit in the high court in 2016 seeking to compel Britam to disclose the audits.

After three years of litigation, the judge ruled and ordered that indeed Britam must disclose the said audit reports if they are relying on them to allege theft by its former employees. Additionally, the judge found Britam’s conduct so unbecoming that it also slapped Britam with the penalty of refunding the accused former staff with the cost of the lawsuit.

Our sources at Britam, who sought anonymity, confirmed to us that the board is furious with Wairegi, for filing frivolous law suits that never saw the light of the day.

Previously, this desk questioned the motive of the suit, which according to experts could not hold water. Bank records that Kahawa Tungu obtained last year showed that the money the staffers were accused of stealing was used in different projects.

Peace at Britam was still until new investors, IFC and Swiss RE, came on board. Sources say that the investors are apparently unhappy with Mr Wairegi and want to see him fired by the end of the year.

Read: Is Britam Trying To Use The Courts To Stifle Competition?

The stock has tanked by over 75 percent for the years the company has been in litigation with the former employees (now working for Cytonn), and is now trading at below IPO price. Our sources tell us that the new investors, IFC, Swiss Re and AfricInvest are frustrated because they are sitting on paper losses, having bought the share price at Ksh15 and now trading at below Ksh9.

“All their games shall come to a sudden and painful end. We can assure you, the so called forensic audits don’t exist, they have just fixed themselves with their lies,” says an employee, who has been with the company since the wrangles started.

The company is now facing a backlash from the market, as investors now threaten to pull out over the company’s instability in the market.

“Sooner or later the market will realize that this is the biggest corporate lie ever perpetrated by a listed company to investors, and in plain sight of regulators and international shareholders like IFC and Swiss Re,” says our source.

Here is the ruling that could see Wairegi ousted, or investors pulling out:-

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Written by Francis Muli

Senior reporter at Kahawa Tungu, Muli has a passion for human interest stories. Believes in unearthing societal rots that have been hidden from the public eye.
Follow me on Twitter @FmuliKE. Email francis@kahawatungu.com

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