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‘Negative press coverage’ on Kakuzi Plc part of global business smear campaign against Kenyan avocados, says Avocado Society of Kenya

It is ridiculous, the ASK said, that Leigh Day, a British law firm could proclaim that the Kenyan judiciary system is inept in dealing with such crimes and want the matter handled in a British Court.

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Kakuzi PLC

An association of avocado growers and exporters has refuted claims by a section of British media that a Kenyan avocado farm  perpetrated gross human rights abuses and Kenya is unable to prosecute the crimes.

The  Sunday Times in an article by Ms Emily Dugan said Kakuzi Plc guards in 2009 battered a young man to death for allegedly stealing avocados, raping 10 women and violent attacks on villagers.

Camellia, Kakuzi’s Kent-based parent company, is being sued for negligence in failing to prevent the said abuses at the Thika-based Kenya’s largest avocados farms.

The Avocado Society of Kenya (ASK) in a statement said the article is part of an international business smear campaign against Kenya avocados due to the rising popularity in the international markets.

Kakuzi supplies avocados to Britain’s big supermarkets such as Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Lidl — and until recently Marks & Spencer. Locally, it is a leading propagator of clean planting materials.

The association explained that Kakuzi is a Kenyan company with 1,300 shareholders, the majority being Kenyans and had been trading on the Nairobi Securities Exchange for over 50 years.

Kakuzi has already requested the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions to investigate the allegations of criminality and take action per the law.

It is ridiculous, the ASK said, that Leigh Day, a British law firm could proclaim that the Kenyan judiciary system is inept in dealing with such crimes and want the matter handled in a British Court.

“In the case of the tragic death of the young man highlighted in the article, the matter was reported to the relevant authorities and investigations are ongoing,” said ASK CEO Ernest Muthomi.

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Equity Appoints Samuel Onyango as a new Director to the Kenya Board

Samuel Onyango holds a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Nairobi and is a Certified Accountant, Company Secretary, Arbitrator and Mediator. He is a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants (England and Wales), Institute of Certified Secretaries (Kenya) and Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Kenya among others.He was Chairman of the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Kenya (ICPAK) and is a past President of the Eastern Central and Southern Federation of Accountants (ECSAFA), which he also represented in the council of the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC).

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Samuel Onyango.PHOTO/Courtesy.

Equity has announced the appointment of Samuel Onyango as a Non-Executive Director to it’s Equity Bank (Kenya) Limited (EBKL) Board.

Onyango has extensive leadership experience in a wide range of professional services as a Certified Auditor, Company Secretary, Arbitrator, and Mediator, including his contribution to the development of the accounting profession in East, Central, and Southern Africa in the course of his career.

Currently, he is a Director at Jadala Investments Ltd., a Non-Executive Director at BAT Kenya Limited since July 2019, and a member of its Audit and Risk Committee.

He is the immediate former CEO of Delloite East Africa where he served for 38 years in various audit and advisory roles.

His past roles include being Chair of the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Kenya and president of the Eastern, Central, and Southern Africa Federation of Accountants.

“We are thrilled to welcome Samuel as a new independent director to our board. He brings decades of broad executive leadership experience in audit and risk practices that are key in our operations as an integrated financial servicers provider” said EBKL Chairman Ambassador Erastus Mwencha, as he welcomed him to the Board.

On his part, Samuel commented on his commitment to serving the board, “Equity has a distinguished board with great diversity, expertise and experience. The management and staff at Equity are highly skilled and this is evidenced in how the institution has continued to remain at the top. I am confident that working together, we will be able to effectively sail through the pandemic and continue to be a key financial player in our country and the region,” said Onyango.

Samuel holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of Nairobi and is a Certified Accountant and Company Secretary.

He is also a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants (England and Wales), Institute of Certified Secretaries (Kenya), and Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Kenya.

EBKL is a subsidiary of Equity Group Holdings Plc and holds a massive share of the Group’s business contributing 75% of the profitability.

The Bank has been named the Top Banking Superbrand in Kenya for thirteen years in a row since 2007.

Moody’s gave the bank a global rating of B2, Global Rating of Aaa.ke/KE-1 with a Negative outlook same as the sovereign rating of the Kenya Government.

Global Credit Rating Co. (GCR) rated the bank AA- for long-term and A1 for short term, with a Negative outlook. The bank has emerged the Overall Best Bank at the 2020 Think Business Banking Awards for the 9th year in a row. It also won across 22 award categories becoming the most recognized market leader in the country.

The bank was also named Africa’s SME Bank of the Year, for the third year in a row at the 2020 Global SME Finance Awards and the Best Regional Bank in East Africa at the African Banker Awards.

 

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Equity grows loan book by 30% to support customers and keep the economy lights on

While releasing the results for Q3 2020, Dr. James Mwangi, Group Managing Director and CEO said, “We grew our loan book by 30% year on year in order to support our customers who saw opportunities of green shoots and diversification in the COVID-19 environment. Most of the new opportunities we funded were in manufacturing of PPE’s, logistics, online businesses, agro- processing, fast moving consumer goods and agriculture value chains.”

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Equity Group has reported a 30% growth in its loan book from Kshs 348.9 billion in September 2019 to Kshs 453.9 billion as at 30th September 2020.

While releasing the results for Q3 2020, Dr. James Mwangi, Group Managing Director and CEO said, “We grew our loan book by 30% year on year in order to support our customers who saw opportunities of green shoots and diversification in the COVID-19 environment. Most of the new opportunities we funded were in manufacturing of PPE’s, logistics, online businesses, agro- processing, fast moving consumer goods and agriculture value chains.”

Execution of Equity Group’s twin strategy of being defensive and offensive has proven to be effective despite the challenging environment.

Customer deposits registered a 45% growth from Kshs478 billion to Kshs 691 billion driven by 51% growth in Uganda, 21% growth in Kenya and an additional Kshs130 billion from the acquisition of BCDC in DRC.

Loans to customers grew by 30% driven by 37% growth in Uganda, 19% growth by Equity Bank Congo, 15% growth in Rwanda, 15% growth in Kenya and an additional Kshs 48.5 billion from the acquisition of BCDC in DRC.

The growth in capital weighted loan book and capital geared customer deposits was on the back of a 27% growth in shareholders’ funds following withdrawal of Equity Group Holdings’ 2019 dividend payout.

The balance sheet of the Group grew by 38% from Kshs 677.1 billion to reach Kshs 934 billion.

Regional expansion and business diversification efforts have reduced dependence on Kenya for Group performance making the Group truly a regional financial services provider.

Regional subsidiaries now contribute 40% of customer deposits, 39% of Group total assets, 33% of the loan book, 30% of the Group’s revenue and 25% of the Group’s profit before tax.

On the defensive strategy the Group increased its capital base by 27% to Kshs 137.6 billion from Kshs 108.7 billion to fortify the balance sheet.

The Group’s liquidity position strengthened to 55.7% driven by a 61% growth in cash and cash equivalents and a 34% growth in Government securities.

Maintaining its conservative and prudent approach and in recognition of the challenging operating environment, the Group increased its loan book provision eleven-fold from Kshs1.3 billion to Kshs14.3 billion compared to the same period last year, registering a cost of risk of 4.8% up from 0.8% the corresponding period last year.

To further consolidate liquidity, the Group increased its long-term funding by 7% to Kshs 70.7 billion from Kshs 66.3 billion as shareholders funding grew by 27%.

In its defensive strategy, Equity has worked to support the larger society, communities and customers to weather and mitigate the adverse effects of COVID-19, Equity Group boosted government efforts of containing the pandemic by:

(1)   Waiving fees on mobile banking transactions to discourage the use of cash while incentivizing the use of digital channels;

(2)   Utilizing the expertise of Equity Afia medical team to screen body temperature of customers and staff accessing physical premises including bank branches while supporting COVID-19 health education;

(3)   Leading nationwide initiatives to safeguard frontline health workers through the provision of PPEs and mental wellness and psychosocial support training by the Equity Group Foundation at a cost of Kshs1.3 billion.

(4)   Providing loan repayment accommodation and rescheduling for up to 45% of the customers whose cashflows were deemed likely to be negatively impacted by government set COVID-19 containment measures.

(5)   Supporting staff to cope with the challenges associated with COVID-19 while maintaining a conducive working environment to comply with health protocols and offering choice of working from home were possible.

 

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Teacher Tabichi awarded 2020 Ahimsa Award in UK

He was chosen for this year’s honour for his work in dramatically improving attendance at his school, reducing levels of local violence and even teaching local communities how to grow crops that can resist famine.

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2019 Global Teacher Prize recipient Peter Tabichi

The 2019 Global Teacher Prize recipient Peter Tabichi has been conferred the 2020 Ahimsa Award by the Trustees of the Institute of Jainology in London.

The Institute of Jainlology (IOJ) represents 32 UK-based Jain organisations in government and inter-religious affairs.

This year’s award was announced at the 18th Jain All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) Ahimsa Day meeting last month. The award celebrates the Jain tenets of Ahimsa or non-violence and compassion.

He was chosen for this year’s honour for his work in dramatically improving attendance at his school, reducing levels of local violence and even teaching local communities how to grow crops that can resist famine.

“He, Teacher Tabichi, personifies peace, love and compassion in his work with both his students and his community and truly represents the message of Ahimsa,” said IOJ Managing Trustee Dr Mehool Sanghrajka.

Dr Mehoollook said the organization looks forward to seeing his ongoing success as well as being a beacon for teachers and community leaders everywhere.

Teacher Tabichi while virtually accepting the award said Jainology is all about non-violence and compassion, is very dear to my heart as a religious man.

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