Kenyan businessman John Kimani, a significant shareholder and director at Kakuzi Plc, is among several directors facing separate charges for alleged irregular payments amounting to Ksh320.9 million ($2 million) at the agricultural cultivation and manufacturing company.
The Capital Markets Authority (CMA) has summoned top executives, including Kimani and Kakuzi Managing Director Christopher Flowers, over accusations of engaging in irregular financial transactions.
In addition to Kimani and Flowers, Nicholas Ng’ang’a, Graham Harold Mclean, Andrew Ndegwa Njoroge, Ketan R. Shah, Daniel Ndonye, Stephen Waruhiu, and Benjamin Okiring have been named in the scandal.
CMA exposes Kakuzi’s $2-million payment irregularities
The CMA alleges that Kakuzi officials entered into undisclosed contracts for technical services without revealing their dual roles as shareholders and directors of the contracted company.
The regulator claims that Kakuzi engaged in a management support services agreement without a specified end date, and an inquiry revealed that three Kakuzi officials were also the directors and shareholders of the company providing the services.
“In the period between Jan. 1, 2018, and March 10, 2021, Kakuzi made irregular and/or unsupported payments totaling Ksh320.9 million ($2 million) for the management services support,” stated the CMA in a recent press release.
However, the Capital Markets Tribunal has rejected the CMA’s application to consolidate cases involving senior officials of Kakuzi accused of approving substantial payments to companies they formed without disclosing their interests. The tribunal argued that consolidation could complicate the determination of issues in both appeals.
Kimani: Power player on the Nairobi Securities Exchange
Kakuzi, a prominent agro-allied company listed on the Nairobi Securities Exchange, is known for its production and sale of avocados, blueberries, macadamia nuts, tea, cattle, and commercial forestry.
Kimani, who holds 6,762,133 shares in Kakuzi, representing 34.54 percent of the company, is valued at more than $12 million, making him one of the wealthiest investors on the Nairobi Securities Exchange and a leading businessman in the country. Kimani also holds substantial interests in Centum Investment Company, Kakuzi, and Nation Media.
Kimani’s recent bold investment move: Safaricom shares acquisition
In a bid to diversify his investment portfolio and expand his business interests in the African telecom sector, Kimani recently acquired an additional 8.64 million shares in Safaricom Plc, East Africa’s largest telecom service provider, for $0.7 million in 2023.
Kimani’s increased holdings in Safaricom now total 27.7 million shares, valued at over $2.2 million, making him the second-largest East African individual shareholder in the telecom giant, after Chirag Menesh Solanki and Kalavati Menesh Solanki, who jointly hold 40.41 million units.