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UK inherits Sh2bn SportPesa company’s assets

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The government of the United Kingdom is set to inherit Sh2 billion worth of assets held by SPS Sportsoft Limited, a gambling software and support services company which owns SportPesa.

SPS Sportsoft’s top client is Kenya-based Pevans East Africa Limited which shut down it’s operations in 2019 after the Kenyan government declined to renew its operating licence over tax evasion scandals.

“The Registrar of Companies gives notice that, unless cause is shown to the contrary, the company will be struck off the register and dissolved not less than two months from the date shown above…  Upon the company’s dissolution, all property and rights vested in, or held in trust for, the company are deemed to be bona vacantia, and will belong to the Crown.” SPS stated.

Bona vacantia translates to vacant goods or ownerless assets. In the UK such assets  including those of dissolved firms and estates of people who die without a will or blood relatives are inherited by the government.

SPS has note disclosed the reasons why it is being liquidated but it has suffered losses Kenya where shareholders are embroiled in wrangles. Pevans was the biggest client generating upto £20.6 million (Sh3.1 billion) in 2018 and accounting for 96% of the total revenue of £21.6 million (Sh3.2 billion).

Other clients operating SPS include SPGHL’s subsidiaries which also trades under the Sportpesa brand in Tanzania and South Africa. The firm’s dissolution means that assets worth £13.2 million (Sh2 billion) that will be surrendered to the UK government.

SPS’s creditors also risk losing upto £8.5 million (Sh1.2 billion) that they were owed in the review period. It was required to publish its 2019 accounts by December last year but did not meet the deadline pushing the authorities to have it liquidated without the release of its updated financial statements.

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The fall of SPS is a mojor blow to Kenyan businessmen Asnath Maina and Paul Ndung’u and Asenath Maina who fell out with their Bulgarian counterparts over control and ownership of SportPesa.

Pevans’ operating licence was revoked in July 2019 over unpaid taxes and penalties that now stand at Sh95 billion according to the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA). It was the second largest company by revenue with close to Sh150 billion in 2018, only coming second to Safaricom.

But the Bulgarian investors later teamed with Ronald Karauri, Pevans’ chief executive office to form Milestone Games Limited where they transferred the SportPesa trade name. Sportpesa brand was moved from Pevans to SPGHL for £100,000 (Sh15.1 million) and then to Milestone in transactions that began on June 2, 2020.

One Kalina Karadzhova acted for SPGHL Mr Karauri signed the deed of assignment on behalf of Pevans but it later emerged that Karauri controls close 55% stake in Milestone.

 


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