Saudi prince sues Kenyan firm in ownership row

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A Saudi prince has accused three Kenyan businessmen of forging his signature and transferring the ownership of a multi-billion shilling food security company to themselves without his consent.

Sultan Bin Nasser Bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud said this in an affidavit sworn through lawyer David Okoyo.

He claimed that through forged documentation, his majority shareholding of 900 out of 1,000 shares of the Arafco Agriculture Integration Company Ltd was fraudulently transferred without his consent to local directors under the name Milestone Developers Ltd as majority shareholder.

The prince said being a foreign investor, he had teamed up with local partners.

The local businessmen the prince listed as his partners were Mr Mohammed Koriow Nur, Mr Mohammedulamin Mohamud and Mr Mohammed Hirei Bare Ahmed who had six per cent, three per cent and one  per cent shares respectively.

“When we checked at Sheria House, we found that they forged my signature to transfer the shares to themselves and that  currently is subject to investigation at the Directorate of Criminal Investigation,” reads the affidavit.

The prince said he had appointed a local agent, Mr Hassan Babakar Osman, to prepare a memorandum of articles of association in 2010 with the objective of setting up an agricultural investment in Kenya, partly financed by the Saudi Government.

This, he said, was in line with a presidential initiative “calling for international businessmen to invest in food security by offering them land”.

He further stated that he was leased 100,000 acres from the Agriculture Development Corporation (ADC) on the property known as Galana Ranch/Block 1/1 situated in Kilifi County for 16 years under a renewable contract.

CHANGING SHARES

The prince said he had been making regular rent payments to ADC through Mr Babakar and paying workers on the ground while his local partners “have been busy changing shares”.

“I embarked on the development of the leased land and have so far cleared 2,000 acres for setting up a ranch in readiness for the first phase of planting maize before embarking on the second phase of sugarcane and later the setting up of a sugar factory. I had employed, at the beginning, 80 Kenyans. I have invested USD800,000 (Sh81.2 million) and I am waiting for the Saudi and the Kenyan governments to sign the food security agreement,” the court papers read.

He added, “To change the company without the consent and knowledge of the majority shareholder is illegal.”

When he asked Mr Mohamud about the change of director and surrender of shares, he denied knowing anything and swore an affidavit in court, said the prince.

“The Agriculture Principal Secretary visited the farm in 2012,” the sworn affidavit stated.

The prince said his partners were now threatening Mr Babakar. In his affidavit, Mr Babakar said there had been no change of the shares to make Milestone Developers Company a majority shareholder.

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