Order freezing Sh3.6bn in Britam-Acorn case extended

November 27, 2014
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BAAM accuses four former employees Edwin Dande (Chief Executive), Elizabeth Nkukuu (Portfolio Manager), Shiv Arora (Investment Analyst) and Patricia Wanjama (Head of legal) who quit forming Cytonn investment of illegally transferring money to bank accounts held Acorn group/FILE
BAAM accuses four former employees Edwin Dande (Chief Executive), Elizabeth Nkukuu (Portfolio Manager), Shiv Arora (Investment Analyst) and Patricia Wanjama (Head of legal) who quit forming Cytonn investment of illegally transferring money to bank accounts held Acorn group/FILE
NAIROBI, Kenya Nov 27 – The High Court has extended an order freezing Sh3.6 billion held in the bank accounts of former employees of British American Asset Managers (BAAM).

Civil Division Judge David Onyancha said in his ruling that in order to preserve the application filed by Britam limited and to ensure the money and title deeds which are the subject of the suit before the court are not interfered with, the extension of the order is appropriate.

He said that the court on an application by the aggrieved company issued the interim orders on November 12, 2014 and the same have to remain in force until the matter is heard and determined.

“If the orders are not extended the suit before the court will be rendered useless,” he said.

BAAM accuses four former employees Edwin Dande (Chief Executive), Elizabeth Nkukuu (Portfolio Manager), Shiv Arora (Investment Analyst) and Patricia Wanjama (Head of legal) who quit forming Cytonn investment of illegally transferring money to bank accounts held Acorn group.

They also accuse Acorn and Acorn’s associated firms as the defendants of conspiracy to defraud.

In an affidavit sworn by Jude Brian Anyiko Oluoch, the acting Chief Executive Officer of BAAM, Britam contends that the four former employees held a position of trust and had a fiduciary relationship with Britam.

In breach of this trust they hatched a conspiracy to make payments and execute contracts without approvals.

The affidavit points out that one of the unauthorized contracts executed without authority of the board was Joint Venture Agreement to make monetary contributions to real estate development projects undertaken and controlled by Acorn and affiliated firms.

Upon its own internal investigations and legal audit conducted by the firm of Coulson Harney Advocates, Britam discovered that Dande, Nkukuu and Arora instructed transfer of funds without authority of the board and relevant investment committees.

The first tranche was Sh1. 1 billion passed off as “expenses” but paid to various firms associated with Acorn including Edenvale Developments LLP, Starling Park Properties, Crimson Court Development LLP, Sinopia Properties LLP and Mikado Properties LLP.

Acorn would use the money to purchase some properties in Nairobi, Machakos and Kajiado counties.

The audit further disclosed unauthorized transfer of Sh2.7 billion to LLPs owned and controlled by Acorn including Crescent Developments LLP.

While Britam claims that the resignation by Dande and group was “well-choreographed”, it accuses Acorn of dishonesty for receiving seed capital for real estate developments projects from funds “illicitly and fraudulently transferred from BAAM”.

That Acorn would immediately fire Britam and hire Cytonn as lead transaction advisor in its real estate development projects further builds Britam’s case.

Justice Onyancha issued an order freezing their accounts and stopping transfer of the properties traced and purportedly acquired using the illicitly transferred funds.

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