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Kenyan billionaire David Langat and family dragged to court over $152,000 travel debt

The plaintiff claims that they flew around the country and abroad for a year and now refuse to pay the bill.

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Kenyan billionaire David Langat.

Kenyan billionaire and DL Group Chairman David Langat has been sued by a travel agency for allegedly failing to foot a $152,000 travel bill that his family incurred over a one-year period.

According to court documents filed by African Touch Safaris Limited, Langat flew around the country and abroad between January 2018 and September 2019 and in the process spent Sh8.1 million ($73,138) for both his business and his personal trips.

“The aforementioned amounts have fallen and payable and remains due and outstanding from the defendants and despite demand having been made, the defendants have refused, neglected and or otherwise failed to pay the aforementioned sum or any part thereof,” judicial documents filed by African Touch Safaris lawyers Nganywa and Kibet Partners LLP read.

The business tycoon has been sued alongside his wife, Hellen Jerobon Langa, and his children.

The travel agency claims that in 2018 Langat directed them to organize domestic private air travel for him and his family and invoice him. He promised to pay in Kenyan shillings and U.S. dollars to the agency for sorting out travel for himself and his family. While the agency purchased the travel tickets during the one-year period at their own expense, Langat promised to eventually settle the bills, but has thus far failed to do so. The fare demanded from Langat accrued from early 2018 to September 2019. He is alleged to owe Africa Touch Safaris Limited sums of $34,000 and Sh 1.9 million ($17,154). Debt interest has accrued in the amount of Sh5 million ($45,142). Langat’s travel, according to court documents, was mostly to Eldoret from Nairobi.

“The plaintiff avers that between July 23, 2018 and Sept. 27, 2019 the first defendant (Langat) with the instructions of second (DL Group), second (Rift Valley Tea), third (Ibera Tea) incurred expenditure amounting to Sh8.18 million inclusive of interest for traveling to various destinations,” court documents read.

Africa Touch Safaris is also suing Langat’s wife. According to the lawsuit, she also signed a contract with the firm to manage her domestic travel – mostly return flights from Nairobi to Eldoret in July 2018. The travel firm insists that Hellen Jerobon Langat accrued Sh5.1 million ($46,045) between the date she signed the contract and June 2020. It claims that she has declined to foot her bills.

Africa Touch is also demanding Sh 3.7 million ($33,400) from nine of their children and relatives for travels made around 2019. According to the company, Langat’s company, DL Group, agreed to settle their bills in February 2020 on a monthly basis and top up two-percent interest on the accrued amount.

However, in their joint reply, the Langat family argued that there was never a contract between them and the travel agent and requested the court to dismiss the case.

“At all relevant points in this case, there was no contractual relationship, legal or otherwise,” the Langat family responded, adding that if there was any such a contract, the amount demanded was incorrect.

All the cases were filed before the Court of Commerce of the Magistracy of Milimani in Nairobi.

Langat, one of Kenya’s richest and most influential men, is the chairman of DL Group, an East African conglomerate with interests in agriculture, energy and real estate.

DL Teas, one of the group’s subsidiaries, is among the largest tea producers in Africa.

Another DL Group subsidiary is Africa Economic Zones Limited. It has a license to develop and operate Kenya’s first licensed special economic zone located in Eldoret, Kenya.

Langat also owns hotels and shopping malls in Kenya.

East Africa

Kenyan multimillionaire banker James Mwangi loses nearly $5 million in 56 days as Equity Group shares retreat from 21-month high

Equity Group Holdings Limited is a leading financial services holding based in Nairobi.

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Kenyan multimillionaire banker James Mwangi.

Kenyan multimillionaire businessman James Mwangi has seen the market value of his stake in Equity Group Holdings decline by Ksh550 million ($4.96 million) in the past 56 days, as shares in the Kenya-based group retreated from a record 21-month high.

Equity Group Holdings Limited is a leading financial services holding headquartered in Nairobi, the capital and largest city of Kenya.

Under the leadership of Mwangi, the holding has grown into one of the largest financial services groups in East Africa, operating through its subsidiaries in Uganda, Tanzania, South Sudan, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo, in addition to its Kenyan operations.

As of press time, Oct. 22, shares in the Kenya-based financial services group were trading at KSh49.95 ($0.451) per share, 91-basis points higher than its opening price this morning.

In recent times, Equity Group has lost nearly eight percent of its market capitalization on the Nairobi bourse, as investors book profits after the share price surged to a record 21-month high of Ksh54.25 ($0.489) on Aug. 27.

Since Aug. 27, the group’s share price has declined from a price of Ksh54.25 ($0.489) to KSh49.95 ($0.451) as of the time of writing, accruing a loss of 7.5-percent for shareholders and insiders, such as Mwangi, who hold stakes in the financial services group.

As a result of the decline in the group’s share price, the market value of Mwangi’s stake has declined from Ksh6.93 billion ($62.55 million) to Ksh6.38 billion ($57.6 billion) between Aug. 27 and Oct. 22.

This translates to a loss of Ksh550 million ($4.96 million) for the multimillionaire banker in 56 days.

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East Africa

Kenyan mogul Julius Mwale offers $20 million to farmers to restore activity at Mumias Sugar

The funds will be used to kickstart sugarcane cultivation and sugar production.

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Kenyan mogul Julius Mwale.

Kenyan tech tycoon and Mwale Medical and Technology City (MMTC) owner Julius Mwale has offered Ksh2.2 billion ($20 million) to farmers in an effort to restore sugarcane farming.

According to recent reports, Mwale said the funds will be used to provide farmers with capital to kickstart sugarcane cultivation and sugar production, and to boost the industry at large.

The capital commitment follows his successful Ksh27.6-billion ($249.31 million) bid made through his Tumaz & Tumaz Enterprise as part of a leasing tender to take control of Mumias Sugar over a 15-year period.

Mwale, who received a $200-million (Sh22.1 billion) loan commitment from a leading U.S. bank to strengthen his chances of taking home the lease, placed the highest bid from among eight bidders looking to assume control of the company, according to the receiver-manager, Ponangipali Rao.

His $249.31-million bid was higher than the Ksh8.4 billion ($75.9 million) that Devki Group owner Narendra Raval offered to take control of Mumias and the KSh3.5 billion ($31.61 million) that Kenyan businessman Jaswant Rai offered through his company, Rai Group.

Mwale’s $20-million commitment is expected to go to farmers who abandoned the Mumias plantation after the sugar-production company ran into a financial crisis three years ago.

In addition, Mwale disclosed that a sum of KSh2.2 billion ($20 million), Ksh887 million ($8 million) and Ksh221 million ($2 million) will be allocated, respectively, to revive two ethanol plants owned by the company, its power generation unit and its water-bottling plant.

Mwale also plans to allocate Sh2.2 billion ($20 million) each to build an airport, an agricultural research university, a sugar tourist resort, a housing project and a hospital at the Mumias complex.

Mwale is the president and CEO of SBA Technologies, a New York-based company founded in 2003.

He is also the lead investor in MMTC, a $2-billion community-owned sustainable metropolis with an extensive medical and technology complex that contains a shopping and residential unit, a golf resort and a convention center.

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East Africa

Ethiopian billionaire Mohammed Al-Amoudi gains $360 million in 21 days after losing $530 million between July and September

His $7.2-billion fortune is derived from closely held companies such as Preem, Svenska Petroleum and Midroc Europe.

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Ethiopian billionaire Mohammed Al-Amoudi.

Ethiopia-born billionaire Mohammed Al-Amoudi has recorded a $360-million boost in his net worth in the past 21 days after his wealth fell by $530 million between July and September.

The billionaire, whose real-time fortune of $7.2 billion is derived from closely held companies such as Svenska Petroleum, Midroc Europe (a construction and property group) and Preem (his most valuable asset), has seen his net worth increase by 5.26 percent since Sept. 29.

Data retrieved from the Bloomberg Billionaires Index revealed that his net worth has increased from $6.84 billion on Sept. 29 to $7.20 as of the time of writing, Oct. 21, owing to an increase in the valuation of his assets across Sweden, Saudi Arabia and Ethiopia.

This translates to a net worth gain of $360 million for the billionaire in the past 21 days.

Between July 28 and Sept. 29, his net worth fell from a valuation of $7.37 billion to $6.84 billion.

The recent increase in his net worth is linked to a revaluation of his equity interest in companies, and specifically his ownership interest in Svenska and Preem, the largest fuel company in Sweden, with an annual refining capacity of more than 18 million cubic meters of crude oil.

Recently, Pyrocell, a Preem subsidiary, announced that a biofuel plant producing pyrolysis is under way. This is in line with the group’s commitment to achieving large-scale renewables production.

The plant, which is located in Gavle, Sweden, will produce around 25,000 tonnes of non-fossil pyrolysis per year, which equates to the annual fuel consumption of 15,000 passenger vehicles.

Al-Amoudi’s net worth of $7.20 billion makes him the 387th richest man in the world behind U.S. businessman and investor Tom Gores, who is $20-million richer.

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