SportPesa Comeback Hits A Snag As CS Matiang’i Strikes Again

KEY POINTS:

  • SportPesa grand comeback has hit yet another dead end as the betting regulator annulled the license for Milestone Gaming Limited.
  • Interior Cabinet Secretary Dr Fred Matiangi ruled out the return of gaming companies whose licenses the Government had revoked.
  • The DCI and the IG will conduct due diligence on the directors of those companies in what appears to be a renewed attack on gaming companies by the Government.

SportPesa grand comeback has hit yet another dead end as the betting regulator annulled the license for Milestone Gaming Limited.

Milestone, a new betting company that resurfaced with the SportPesa brand, had their license cancelled after they breached procedural requirements on change of shareholding structure.

On Thursday, Ronald Karauri, the CEO of SportPesa, was among those who appeared at the offices of BCLB to show cause.

“Having considered the foregoing, the Board was not satisfied with the explanations proffered by your and accordingly arrived at the decision to cancel to cancel your company’s Bookmakers’ off-the-course license number 00205 dated 6th October 2020,” read a letter by BCLB Chairman Cyrus Maina.

Fred Matiang'i
Fred Matiang’i

Meanwhile, Interior Cabinet Secretary Dr Fred Matiangi ruled out the return of gaming companies whose licenses the Government had revoked.

The CS has at the same time directed the BCLB to furnish the Inspector General of Police Hilary Mutyambai and DCI chief George Kinoti with details of all licensed gaming companies operating in the country.

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The DCI and the IG will conduct due diligence on the directors of those companies in what appears to be a renewed attack on gaming companies by the Government.

SportPesa’s comeback has met several hitches, including an unending legal bout between the shareholders of Pevans East Africa, which originally owned the SportPesa brand.

Also at stake is the Sh15 billion tax obligation that Pevans had agreed to pay the taxman, as questions arise on whether the new entity to operate the SportPesa brand assets can shoulder the tax obligations of the former.

Matiangi, who spoke today at the Administration Police training college in Embakasi said: “It will not happen under my watch. It’s a decision that we have taken and we will not go back.”

The CS at the same time announced that the Government would not allow back into the country any of the foreign officials linked to the gaming companies.

“We are not going to rescind the decision on those deported, “said the CS.

Last May, the Interior Ministry announced that it had 17 foreigners who are in the country illegally and were linked to gaming had been deported.

The Ministry said most of those to be kicked out were in betting and casino businesses. The nationalities of those declared prohibited Immigrants were revealed to be Chinese, Spaniards, Turks, Serbian, South Koreans, Bulgarians, Italians and Danes.

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