NAIROBI, Kenya Sep 16 – Controversial business mogul Kamlesh Pattni has renounced the pursuit of the Kenya Duty Free shops over which he is embroiled in a tussle with the Kenya Airports Authority (KAA).
Pattni declared on Monday that he had withdrawn the demand for Sh4.2 billion from the KAA and also terminated all cases against the Authority, saying that he wanted to “live in peace”.
Companies associated with Pattni had operated the duty free shops for 25 years, until they were forcefully ejected by KAA last month.
“What good is it if we gain the whole world but lose our soul?” pondered Pattni, who has converted to Christianity, adopted the name Paul and now heads a church.
“So I say what good is it if I gain the whole duty free monopoly for eternity but lose my peace, and keep fighting the same Authority under whose rule I live in this Kenya of ours?” added the lyrical billionaire.
Pattni says he wants to live in peace with his family and wants the government to give him peace.
“As a responsible citizen I do not to wish to fight the Authority which has been put in place by the almighty God. When the Authority chosen by God asks you for a shirt you give your coat also,” he said.
The businessman, who is the architect of the multi-billion shillings Goldenberg scandal, asked the government to forget the past by forgiving and recognising those who repent and only punish those who do not repent.
“When I surrendered the Grand Regency Hotel (now known as Laico Regency), I was setting a precedent for other people under investigations to follow suit and surrender, what I got was insult, abuse, bad publicity and betrayals and hence others retreated,” he said.
Confirming the statement, Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure Cabinet Secretary Michael Kamau said this exercise should send a clear message that the Jubilee government is committed to transparent business practices.
“The foregoing are landmark events after a struggle spanning the last 25 years KAA has reclaimed its premises, I am extremely gratified by the role played by various dedicated officers whose dedication was crucial in resolution of this long outstanding dispute,” he said.
He said the government has also withdrawn all the cases against Pattni including challenging the Arbitral Award in which KAA was ordered to pay Sh4.2 billion.