Billionaire Paul Wanderi Ndung’u has resigned as chairman of the betting firm Pevans East African, which owns Sportpesa.The board is set to announce a new chair in what could split the owners of the largest betting firm in the country.Mr Ndung’u has a 17 per cent stake in the firm. He is the fourth-largest shareholder, with the other major shareholders being Guerassim Nikolov, a Bulgarian, with a 21 per cent stake, according to information filed at the Registrar of Companies.
Naogen Investment, US, and Asenath Wachera Maina, a Kenyan, also have a 21 per cent stake each. Sportpesa in late September announced it was shutting down its Kenyan operations due to what it termed as hostile regulatory and taxation regime.The firm said a 20 per cent excise duty on betting stakes was the major factor that led its exit, noting that it would be absent from Kenya “until such time when adequate taxation and non-hostile regulatory environment is returned.”It was among the 27 betting firms whose licences were not renewed by Government owing to its non-tax compliance.
A week later, in October, Sportpesa fired all the 326 employees at its Kenyan unit.
It is unclear what stage its exit from Kenya has reached. Other than his stake in the betting firm, Ndung’u has interests across various industries.
He was one of the key dealers of Safaricom but fell out with the listed-telco. He then dumped Safaricom for Telkom Kenya.Safaricom wanted to increase the number of dealers on its network and roped in more Kenyans into the business while Mobicom was opposed to dilution of its business margins.He remains Telkom’s largest dealer even as it merges with Airtel.