Afternoon Business News Highlights

Kenyan contractor in Sh5 billion fight with US private equity fund

Jitendra Chhotabhai Patel, Kenyan entrepreneur, who founded troubled construction firm Spencon, has sued a US private equity fund for $50 million (Sh5.1 billion) he claims to have lost when the fund fraudulently acquired a 60.68 per cent stake in the company.


Patel filed the suit in the US Court of the District of Columbia seeking discovery — a process that would compel Emerging Capital Partners (ECP) to provide him with information he wants to use in suits against the fund in multiple jurisdictions, including the UK and East Africa.

“I am seeking documents and testimony from ECP regarding the following subjects, all of which are related and relevant to the allegations that ECP Africa has caused great damage to Spencon as a result of its illegal ownership and management,” Mr Patel says in court documents.

Information sought includes Spencon’s expenses and contracts since the fund forcefully took over its operations.

Mr Patel accuses ECP principals of deceit and use of threats, including an attempt to force him into a partnership in a subsidiary with the infamous Mombasa-based Akasha family, in order to drop the cases he has filed against the fund in Mauritius and Uganda.

Uchumi accuses self-help group of lying in Nairobi prime land dispute

Uchumi Supermarkets has accused self-help group Njathaini Electricity Project of tricking the High Court into barring the retail chain from a disputed 20-acre piece of prime land by posing as squatters.

The retail chain says in fresh court filings that Njathaini Electricity Project lied to Justice George Odunga that they have been squatters on land in Roysambu for more than 30 years, a move that saw the judge issue an order restraining Uchumi from the property.

READ ALSO: Reprieve for Uchumi consumers, suppliers as state announces plans to inject Sh1.2Bn into retail chain

Justice Odunga in December ordered the OCS of Kasarani police station to ensure that Uchumi observed his order. But Uchumi through its land holding subsidiary Kasarani Mall Limited now says another two orders order had been issued in 2011 by the High Court barring Njathaini Electricity Project’s members from the land.

The retailer adds that police have now threatened to leave the land unattended, as they are conflicted as to which court order should be enforced. Njathaini Electricity Project is yet to respond to the application that was filed in court on Monday.

Better access to the EU market helps Kenya’s vegetable exports grow 17 per cent

The value of Kenya’s vegetable exports grew by 17 per cent in the first 10 months of last year compared with the same period in 2015 due to improved market access in the European Union.

Data from the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) indicates that vegetable sales stood at Sh19.6 billion up from Sh16.7 billion the previous year.

READ ALSO: Export value of horticultural produce jumps 19 per cent as demand for cut flowers rises

The good performance resulted from improved market access after the country met most of the stringent measures set by EU, which had affected horticultural produce sales.

The export volume rose from 40,000 tonnes in 2015 to 55,000 tonnes between January and October last year.

“In 2015 stringent market access restrictions were set by European countries which affected the volume of produce exported,” said Jane Ngige, chief executive of the Kenya Flower Council (KFC).

Ms Ngige said the association, together with the government, had addressed the bottlenecks affecting sales and now vegetables destined for export meet the required standards.

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