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The Mobitelea Facts As Laid Bare By Parliament In 2007. Kenyans Can No Longer Ignore This.


Caption: Bob Collymore has no moral authority to lecture Kenyans on corruption while he runs a company that borne out of proceeds of corruption.

Shall we as Kenyans continue tolerating a corporate that engages in fraudulent tender scams, lectures us about corruption yet it is the most corrupt corporate borne out of the very vice they purport to rally the private sector against?

Here is a technical summary of the Vodafone theft of 10% of Safaricom shares from our own parastatal Kenya Posts & Telecommunication Corporation, now Telkom Kenya.

Robert William Collymore was listed as a director of Safaricom Kenya Limited prior to being appointed and back in the early 2000’s. He who lectures us on corruption, knows the very identity of the people in Kenya and in Vodafone who conspired to unlawfully acquire 10% of our most profitable company.

A conspiracy by Mobitelea Ventures, Vodafone Plc and Telkom board to defraud the public of its shares in Safaricom?

10% of Telkom (K) Ltd shares in Safaricom were irregularly transferred to Mobitelea Ventures without the consent of Treasury and that of the parent ministry according to the Fifteenth Report of the Public Investments Committee on the accounts of State Corporations 2007. The explosive Parliamentary Committee Report on Public Investments demanded  investigations on the circumstances and manner in which the shares were transferred to Mobitelea with a view to taking appropriate action against any persons found culpable. The PIC also wanted the Anti Corruption Commission to include a progress report on the investigation in the Commissions quarterly report to the House for the next immediate period.

This never happened.

In its report the PIC recommended that
Parliament invites the Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the United Nations and the Serious Fraud Office of London to also undertake investigations on the apparent grand corruption conceived and orchestrated by Vodafone PLC in Kenya.

That the then Chief Executive, Communications Commission of Kenya, Eng. John Waweru be asked to step aside until the investigations are completed “due to his roles on the Board of the defunct KP&TC and Telkom at the time of changes in Safaricom shareholding and the Communications Commission of Kenya as exemplified by the evidence adduced and papers laid” before the Committee.
Mr. W.N. Ayah, A.K. Cheserem, M.P. Manji and K.K. Cherogony, D.A Oyatsi and G. Mitine and who discussed the Board Paper No. 56/99 and abetted the outright theft of public shares in Safaricom be barred from holding public office conferred by the Republic of Kenya.

The value of the 10% shares irregularly ceded to Mobitelea Ventures be determined, and Mobitelea Ventures and/ or Vodafone PLC be made to redeem the determined value by June 30, 2008.
The “awaited and Initial Public Offer of Safaricom Ltd be suspended until such time when the above-mentioned investigations are done.

The 10% which was irregularly transferred to Vodafone PLC should immediately revert to Telkom (K) Ltd to hold in trust for the Kenyan public and factored in the event of any privatization of Safaricom Ltd.

The 10% of Telkom shares were transferred to Mobitelea Ventures a shadowy company registered in Guernsey on 18th June 1999. The real owners are hidden behind 2 nominee firms Mercator Nominees Ltd and Mercator Trustees Ltd also registered in Guernsey. The directors are named as Anson Ltd and Cabot Ltd based in Anguilla and Antigua. The Chief Executive of Safaricom Ltd, Mr. Michael Joseph told the PIC that he was unable to disclose to the Committee who the direct and indirect shareholders of Safaricom were. The PIC in its report noted with concern that: There were grievous discrepancies on the date provided by the various persons on the time of reduction of TKL shareholding at Safaricom from 70% to 60%.

None of the witnesses before the Committee could ascertain whether Vodafone PLC actually wrote to TKL asking for increase in their shareholding in Safaricom. The Management of TKL was unable to justify the need to reduce TKL shareholding from 70% to 60%.

The Management of TKL could not confirm whether TKL was paid anything in return for the 10% shareholding irregularly ceded to Vodafone PLC.
The Shareholder Agreement was first signed between Vodafone PLC and KP&TC on January 25, 1999 when policy on investments required Kenyan ownership be not less than 70%. The policy was later amended to accommodate M/S Mobitelea Ventures.

The information provided by Mr. Gavin Darby that “M/s Mobitelea Ventures was identified as a local partner of Vodafone Group for the advisory role it played on local business practices and protocol challenge associated with investigating in Kenya” was misrepresentation of the truth since Mobitelea Ventures is ostensibly not based nor does it operate in Kenya. The Shareholder Agreement was signed on January 25th 1999 long before Vodafone PLC came by Mobitelea Ventures Ltd.

No one else was able to ascertain the existence of the “competitive” process through which Vodafone PLC bought back 5% of Safaricom shares from Mobitelea Ventures as alluded by Darby (Vodafone PLC) through his letter to the PIC. Vodafone PLC failed to appear before the Committee despite several requests to Messers Rhys Philip and Gavin Darby.

Mr. Michael Joseph, Chief Executive of Safaricom Ltd, tabled a letter dated 26th May 2000 before the Committee, ostensibly from VKL forwarding a bankers draft of US$ 22 million. The letter was found to be fictitious as it purported that the postal address of VKL was P.O. Box 40034-00100 Nairobi. In the year 2000 Kenya had not effected the postal coding 00100.
The 7th final Board of Directors meeting held on 27th September 1999 abetted the outright theft of public shares in Safaricom.

The meeting of Board of directors of Safaricom on 5th October 1999 was not properly constituted, as only the Chief Executive and the Company Secretary of KP&TC were present. Safaricom Ltd is a Capital Investment by TKL. Any divestiture ought to be sanctioned by the parent Ministry and the Treasury. There was neither such request sought nor approval given.

Agreements entered between Vodafone (K) Ltd and Telkom (K) Ltd on Safaricom and those between the latter and the two shareholders were not authenticated by way of company seals. Some amendments made on the agreements were actually handwritten and may not have force of law.

TKL failed to invoke clause 12.3 (a) (Right of the first refusal) of the original cooperation and shareholders agreement. TKL and Safaricom management alluded not to know the nature of transactions between Vodafone PLC and Mobitelea Ventures.

It is appalling that Vodafone PLC a UK company involved itself in underhand activities of corrupt nature aimed at depriving Kenyan citizens of billions of shillings through M/S Mobitelea Ventures despite the fact that UK has been in the forefront of campaigning against corruption in developing countries.

The Parliamentary Investments Committee in its report held that “there appears to have been a conspiracy by some officers of Government, Mobitelea Ventures, Vodafone Plc and Telkom board to defraud the public of its shares in Safaricom. Neither the Management of Safaricom nor that of Telkom could produce the written request by Vodafone asking for increase in Vodafone’s’ shares from 30% to 40%. This supposition is further affirmed by the inexplicable disappearance of the records of Vodafone (K) from the Registry of Companies”.

Attached: Vodafone CEO Gavin Darby’s letter to Parliament.

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