Senior officers from the UK’s Serious Fraud Office (SFO) are this week expected in Nairobi to conduct investigations on a suspected corruption case involving an official of the London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA) and a foreign investor in Tatu city. A detective from DCI-who will be hosting the SFO officers disclosed to the weekly citizen that Stephen Jennings is under probe in the UK for bribing LCIA officials in the case against Manhattan Coffee Investment Holdings in 2018. The source claims that SFO’s intelligence had linked a Mr. George Kapanadze to dubious transactions. Kapanadze is Tatu City’s Chief financial officer. The investigators have evidence showing Kapanadze in June 2018 walking into the Ritz Carlton in London and handing over a suitcase to officials from the London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA). Kapanadze had flown in a private Jet to London from Nairobi with approximately $3 million in cash.
Exactly a month later, The London Court of International Arbitration ruled in February that Vimal Shah, Nahashon Nyagah and their associates should pay $17m for damages, interest and costs to SCF Holdings II, a Cypriot holding company controlled by Stephen Jennings. A whistleblower in LCIA leaked damning details of how LCIA officials pocketed the bribes. SFO officers have reportedly obtained CCTV footage of officials from LCIA obtaining suitcases.
Georgie as his friends call him, is Tatu city’s owner Stephen Jennings right hand man. He handles all Jennings transactions. He also doubles up as Tatu City’s Chief Financial Officer. Kapanadze is no stranger to being caught up on the wrong side of the law. In 2011, the late internal security minister George Saitoti threatened to prosecute Kapanadze for “attempting to bribe” him.
One day in November 2011, Kapanadze walked into George Saitoti’s office with $250,000 in hard cash. At the time Saitoti was Internal Security Minister. Saitoti- angered by Kapanadze, threw him out and ordered that Kapanadze be locked at Central police Station. Here is the story.
In 2011, Stephen Jennings was in the process of acquiring Tatu City. Jennings at the time was new in Nairobi. And an investor of his caliber that had just dropped $20 million needed to know who is who. And so he held conversations with his local partners in Tatu. A week before meeting Kapandze’s meeting with Saitoti Jennings met one of his local partners for Tea at Serena Hotel.
The local partner, knowing Jennings was a wealthy man, crafted a scheme to scam him. The local partner tricked Jennings that Raila Odinga would be Mwai Kibaki’s preferred choice in the 2013 election. He also told Jennings that George Saitoti was his good friend and was going to be the chief fundraiser for Raila’s 2013 Presidential bid. Jennings swallowed the local investor’s brief whole.
The local investor’s intention was to lure Jennings into a trap. The local investor knew that Saitoti was going to run for office in 2013 and would thus be angered by the suggestion that Kibaki preferred Raila to him. And if Saitoti was angered by Jennings, Jennings would not be in the Saitoti’s good books. And if Jennings run afoul of Saitoti, he would pay anything to redeem himself with Saitoti.
And true to the local investors scheme, Kapanadze was locked up at Central police station.
While at Central, Kapanadze called his Boss and informed him the plan did not go as planned and that Saitoti ordered him locked up at Central.
Jennings called his local investor pal and pleaded that he sorts out the mess. The investor told Jennings to give him 30 minutes and he’ll sort it out. In exactly 25 minutes the investor called Jennings back and asked for Shs.20 million in cash with the promise that his apologies would reach Saitoti. Jennings delivered it to him and in about 2 hours Kapanadze was set free but without the $250,000.
Nobody knows what happened to the dollars.
During their stay in Kenya, the SFO officers are also expected to pay a courtesy call to Kenya’s DPP, Kenya’s new DCI chief Mohammed Amin and EACC Boss, Twalib Mbarak.
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