The heated family dispute over the multibillion-shilling Naivas supermarket will play out in court starting today (Tuesday) in Nakuru.
The eldest son of Peter Mukuha Kago, the founder of Naivas, Mr Newton Kagira Mukuha, has filed an appeal against a High Court ruling that denied him a stake in the retailer.
Mr Kagira claims that his siblings have excluded him from the company, despite the fact that he apparently provided 20% of the startup funding back in 1990.
He wants the Court of Appeal to rule on whether Naivas should be owned by the founding investors in the company or by the current owners as stated by the Registrar of Companies.
Additionally, the petitioner claims that his brother, David Kimani, the current managing director, conspired with his other brother, Simon Gashwe, to de-list him as a co-owner, depriving him of his legitimate ownership interest in the company.
In August 2021, Mr Kagira moved to the Court of Appeal under a certificate of urgency after the High Court rejected his initial plea in which he claimed ownership of the retailer.
“Court be pleased to issue order compelling the directors of Naivas to jointly deposit the proceeds of sale of shares to Amethis in a joint interest-earning account pending the hearing and determination of the appeal,” said Mr Kagiri who accused his brothers of subjecting to poverty.
“Issue temporary injunction restraining the respondent herein and all other directors of Naivas from further sale of shares and assets.”
After learning that the supermarket had sold a 30% stake to the International Finance Corporation (IFC, the private lending arm of the World Bank), private equity firms Amethis and MCB Equity Fund, as well as German sovereign wealth fund DEG for Sh6 billion, he obtained orders halting further sale of a stake in the company in November 2021.
In June, it was revealed that Proparco, a French sovereign wealth fund, had purchased a $31.5 million (Sh3.7 billion) stake in Naivas as part of a partnership that will eventually own a combined 40% of the company.
Directors of Naivas include Mr Kimani, who owns a 25% share, Mr Gashwe (25%), Linet Wairimu (15%), Grace Wambui (15%), and Mr Kago (20 per cent).
In court, Mr Kagira says that the genuine ownership structure of Naivas should include his 20% stake, the 30% shareholdings of their late father, Ms Wambui (25%) and Ms Wairimu (15%), as well as Mr Kimani (10 per cent).
Naivas has more than 75 stores across Kenya.