Betting firm Cheza Gaming Ltd, trading as HelaBet, is on the verge of collapse after a UK-based software development company filed a petition to have it liquidated over a Sh55 million bad debt.
The software company, Khubi Solutions Limited, claims that HelaBet has failed to pay for the design of its gaming platform since October 2021, despite a court order to do so.
HelaBet is also accused of mismanagement by its directors Barney Barrow and Edward Ndirangu, who have allegedly been siphoning money out of the country and evading tax obligations.
The two have reportedly fled the country and are currently on the run from the law.
The betting firm currently faces a myriad of complaints from its customers who have repeatedly reported non-payment of their rightful winnings, signaling turmoil within the betting company.
HelaBet has since pulled down its PayBill number and BCLB license from its website, raising doubts about its legitimacy.
Reliable sources also indicate that the company is on the radar of the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) over unpaid tax dues.
“The company is already dying. They have not been paying punters their winnings, so betting with HelaBet is a big risk. You put in your money, but when you win, you don’t get a payout,” court documents say.
In the petition pending before the High Court, Khubi Solutions says that HelaBet is insolvent and unable to meet its financial obligations.
It wants the official government liquidator to take over the management of the betting firm.
The petition is based on a previous ruling by Justice John Mativo, then a judge of the High Court, who ordered HelaBet to pay Khubi Solutions $371,915 (Sh55,162,896.80 at current exchange rates) plus interest from March 30, 2017.
“Consequently, and from all the foregoing, it is apparent that the company is not in a position to meet its financial obligations and is therefore definitely insolvent,” Khubi Solutions says in the petition pending before the High Court.
The ruling was issued after Khubi Solutions sued HelaBet for breach of contract.
The software developer said HelaBet contracted it in March 2016 to create a web-based betting platform, but HelaBet failed to pay for the services rendered.
According to court documents, Khubi Solutions delivered the platform to HelaBet in October 2016 and issued an invoice for the payment.
However, HelaBet disputed the invoice and refused to pay.
Khubi Solutions then filed a suit against HelaBet in March 2017, seeking to recover the debt.
The suit was heard and determined in favour of Khubi Solutions in October 2021.
However, HelaBet did not comply with the court order and continued to operate without paying Khubi Solutions.
This prompted Khubi Solutions to file the petition for liquidation in April 2023.
The petition is yet to be heard by the High Court.
It is not clear whether HelaBet will contest the petition or settle the debt.