A Mauritian commission of inquiry has revealed that Kenyan businessman Peter Munga arranged a secretive purchase of 452.5 million shares of Britam Holdings Plc from the Mauritian government in a deal that left the country with a Ksh3.9-billion ($35.9 million) loss.
Munga is the former chairman of Equity Group Holding Limited, a leading financial services holding company based in the African Great Lakes region.
Business Daily reported the inquiry as establishing that one Roshi Bhadain aided Munga to buy the shares for Ksh7.1 billion ($65.34 million) in 2016.
At the time, Bhadian was Mauritius’ minister of financial services, good governance and institutional reforms.
The transaction was executed despite higher offers from competitors, including South Africa’s MMI Holdings and Barclays Bank (now Absa Group).
Each competing investor had offered to buy the stake for Ksh11 billion ($101.24 million), while Munga had also promised to match the figure.
However, the Kenyan mogul eventually bought the stake at a far lesser price.
Munga then sold 104 million shares in 2017 in the open market and followed it up with the disposal of 348.5 million shares to the Zurich-based multinational Swiss Re in 2018.
He sold the shares in two tranches at undisclosed prices, earning him billions of shillings in capital gains.
In 2015, the Mauritian government seized Britam shares belonging to Dawood Rawat (a Mauritian citizen) after his Ksh71-billion ($653.47 million) Ponzi scheme was exposed.
The expose had put pressure on the government to sell Rawat’s assets in Kenya and other jurisdictions to compensate investors and policyholders.
Britam Holding is a leading diversified financial services group listed on the Nairobi Securities Exchange. The group has an operational footprint in seven Africa countries, including Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, South Sudan, Mozambique and Malawi.