The aborted return of SportsPesa in the Kenyan market isn’t getting any better. The financial watchdog of the country has now opened a probe for international financial transfers.
Financial Reporting Centre of Kenya has reportedly opened a probe to determine the criminal angle in the Ksh 30bn ($278mn) transferred by the SportsPesa from local accounts to international banks over the past three years span.
Paul Wanderi Ndung’u was the first to raise the issue. He is chairman of the Kenya based parent company of SportsPesa, Pevans East Africa Ltd. He accused Ronald Karauri, CEO of SportPesa, and the Bulgarian investors of transferring the profits generated in Kenya to other subsidiaries to avoid tax in Kenya and sharing it with Pevans East Africa.
Saitoti Maika, FRC General-Director confirmed that the probe has been launched as it is a matter of public interest. Maika stressed that even though transferring money offshore isn’t illegal but criminality needs to be verified.
SportPesa closed the Kenyan operations last year after a tax-dispute with Kenyan Revenue Authority (KRA). However, it came back in last October and lent its brand to a new Kenyan betting licensee, Milestone Gaming Ltd. However, the Betting Control and Licensing Board (BCLB)has put a hold on it.
The Directorate of Criminal Investigation (DCI) has also opened an investigation into Milestone for using phone codes and pay bill numbers allegedly belonging to Pevans East Africa.
Things got even worse after Wilson Ngatia Karungaru and Bernard Chauro Matoke, directors of Milestone were arrested from Nairobi for inviting bettors to wager with the SportPesa site. They later were released on bail by the court.