Sumary of Kenya: Mining Firm Owners Feud Over Missing Sh2.5bn:
- The perfect storm is brewing at mining company Athi Stores Ltd as directors fight over Sh2.5 billion allegedly embezzled from the firm, while the taxman seeks his pound of flesh and disgruntled workers demand Sh60 million in terminal benefits.
- The Varmas have sued Athi Stores seeking a court order for a forensic investigation into the company, and to hold executive director Shammit Ghai responsible for any missing or misappropriated funds flagged by the scrutiny.
- And the other corner has brothers Shammit and Rajan Ghai, who bought Athi Stores shares in 1996 when the Varma family was looking to expand its operations.
- Unpaid taxes But even as the wrangles continue, the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) is seeking to attach Athi Stores’ assets to recover over Sh5 million in unpaid taxes.
- A group of workers has also threatened to sue the company for failing to pay terminal dues totalling Sh60 million.
- Sunit, Reena and Shamit Varma claim they have only been able to obtain books of accounts for the years 2008 to 2016, and that the documents revealed how the Ghai brothers allegedly siphoned Sh2.5 billion from Athi Stores.
- Shammit Ghai, the executive director, claims the Varma family has a bone to pick with him for scuttling their plans to sell a portion of Athi Stores’ land to Bamburi Cement.
- Other investors In 1996, the Varmas opened up the company to other investors so that they could raise cash to lower Athi Stores’ liabilities of Sh250 million.