Rwandese investor tells court how he chose Kenyan Kirimi Koome as country representative

Rwandese businessman Desire Muhinyuza testifying in Sh 400 million company suit at Milimani Law Courts, Nairobi. PHOTO/Suek

A Rwandese investor who is entangled in a commercial suit with a Kenyan businessman over Sh 400 million company has told court how he ended up choosing him as the Kenyan representative.

Desire Muhinyuza told Justice Alfred Mabeya that his company, Stay Online Limited had made resolutions to expand across East Africa and each country required a local representative.

According to Muhinyuza, Koome was recommended to him by his close friend and Equity Bank Rwanda e-commerce manager Patrick Kakumba.

The Rwandese and Koome are both claiming ownership of Stay Online Kenya.

The witness told the court that Koome was described as a wealthy Kenyan with business and political connections.

“Koome was described as someone from a wealthy family in Kenya and with very good connections locally. I was told he was in the US but came back to Kenya to manage the family business since the parents are old and unwell,” Muhinyuza testified.

During re-examination by his advocate Danstan Omari, Muhinyuza said that this information made him think Koome was the right person to choose as Kenyan representative.

He added that since the recommendation came from his close friend, he had no reason to doubt him as an appropriate choice.

The court further heard that Muhinyuza paid the money for incorporation of the company via mpesa to one Pamela Ager, an advocate, through one Sheila whom they work with as per advocates advice.

Muhinyuza added that he is the beneficial owner of Stay Online Uganda as per court documents.

Documents produced

He went further to produce, among other documents, an email from Koome to Ager which was also copied to him, confirming the company had been registered in Kenya after making the necessary payments.

Koome is also said to have written to him saying that he registered himself as the 100% shareholder of the company for speed of the execution process. This was allegedly because of the hustle placed on foreign shareholders by the bank. 

He also emailed him the KRA pin for the company.

The court was told that the emails sent by Koome read to “Stay Online Limited”, therefore the question arose as to why he would be emailing himself if he was the beneficial owner of Stay Online Kenya.

It was Muhinyuza’s testimony that he catered for the finances and infrastructure for Stay Online Limited, Kenya.

He added that there is no monetary input from Koome as far as he knows.

The witness further produced documents from the registrar of companies showing that the company was registered by one Harry Bob Otieno and not Koome himself as he had communicated to him.

Muhinyuza went on to say that the Sh 400 million invested in the company belongs to Stay Online merchants, most of whom are in Europe.

“My contribution to that money is only 0.3 percent,” he testified.

The court heard that Muhinyuza negotiated with the merchants and Koome signed the documents.

It was his evidence that when he wanted to change Kenya’s representative, Koome wrote to him seeking to be paid USD 20,000 as his service fee and another USD 100,000 for tax.

The monies were paid to his personal bank account.