, NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 13 – The Registrar of Companies Bernice Gachega was on Thursday hard pressed to explain how two companies bearing almost identical names were allowed to operate for six years without detection.
This is after Gachegu revealed that they had discovered China Roads and Bridge Corporation (CRBC) International which was incorporated in Kenya in December 1984 and China Roads and Bridge Corporation Kenya Limited which was registered on December 23, 2008.
She had told the Public Investments Committee that the manual systems used for registration at the time when the companies were being registered were prone to mistakes. The department adopted the digitized system in 2009.
“Anywhere we find double registration, it is inadvertent. The registry has no business allowing a name that has already been registered by someone else, but we are investigating that because maybe it was not in good faith,” the Registrar said as she addressed queries from members of the National Assembly whether she had launched an internal probe into the matter.
According to documents produced by Gachega, CRBC International directors are all Chinese nationals who are residents of Beijing while CRBC (Kenya) Limited had Peter Maingi Gatere and Leonard Mwangi Ndung’u listed as its directors with offices in the city’s Westlands area.
MPs were stunned by revelations that no action has been taken to compel the two companies to comply with the statutory financial returns with her office since they were both registered.
“In my view this is a serious choreographed, well planned and executed scheme to defraud this country. I do not want to really say that this has anything to do with the Office of the Registrar because of what she has said, but these serious conmen that have perfected this art outside there can do anything to really achieve their end,” Igembe South MP Mithika Linturi explained. “This is coming out because there are a lot of inconsistencies in the manner this was done.”
Aldai MP Cornelly Serem demanded that Gachegu resign from office for failing to carry out her functions.
“Since this company (CRBC International) has not filed their accounts from 1984 till now have you considered resigning from your job, since you have been sleeping on your job, because this a requirement?” posed the MP before he was ruled out of order by Committee Vice- chairman Kimani Ichung’wah who chaired the sitting.
However, Gachega explained that her office only realised the double registration last week while preparing to appear before the committee.
She however explained that the Companies Act requires her office to sue an incorporated foreign entity that defaults on filing the annual statement. The Registrar added that such a company would be required to pay a fine of Sh1,000 for each year they default and a further Sh100 for each day that they fail to comply.