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Inside Mitchell Cotts Kenya’s share structure

By Standard Reporter | January 21st 2020
The headquarters of Mitchell Cotts Freight Kenya Limited at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport.

Mitchell Cotts Kenya Ltd is the majority shareholder of Mitchell Cotts Freight Kenya Ltd, one of the companies that won a tender to offer peripheral storage facilities at the Inland Container Depot (ICD) in Nairobi.

Mitchell Cotts Freight is being investigated by the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) to establish how it won the tender.

The probe into the matter has brought into sharp focus the shareholding structure of Mitchell Cotts Kenya Ltd – majority-owned by the family of Philip Ndegwa, a former Central Bank of Kenya governor, through their First Chartered Securities Ltd.

The Ndegwas, through First Chartered Securities, hold 252,632 of the 320,000 ordinary shares. The other 67,368 are held by Makimwa Consultants Ltd.

Duncan Nderitu Ndegwa is listed as one of the shareholders of Mitchell Cotts Kenya Ltd. Other directors listed in the company’s CR-12 certificate are Antony Peter Wainaina Kamau, Daniel Kipsang Tanui, Patrick Kithinji Mugambi, Andrew Ndegwa and James Philip Ndegwa.  

 Parent firm

Mitchell Cotts Ltd, a company that has been alleged to be the parent firm of Mitchell Cotts Kenya Ltd is, however, not among the shareholders, contrary to earlier media reports that it was.

In an interview with the Financial Standard, Mitchell Cotts Kenya’s management denied being related to the “phantom” company, with its human resources manager Sam Odera saying, “There is no company called Mitchell Cotts Ltd.”

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The firm also insisted that its subsidiary, Mitchell Cotts Freight Kenya, competitively won the tender to provide peripheral container warehouse services at the ICD.

They were awarded the tender in September 2018.

The company added that some of its managers had since visited the DCI for questioning on how the tender was won, and furnished the directorate with several documents to support its claim, including a letter of reference from the Kenya Ports Authority (KPA).

Mr Odera added that Mitchell Cotts Freight won the tender after beating out more than 15 other bidders.

Upon closer scrutiny of the CR-12 document for Mitchell Cotts Ltd, the company behind the controversial mix-up, some glaring discrepancies appear. Allegations that the business is linked to Baringo Senator Gideon Moi, James Philip Maina Ndegwa and businessman Joshua Chelelgo Kulei begin to fall apart when you look at the iteration of the shareholders’ names.

The shareholders are listed as Godeon Towett Moi, James Philip Mangi Ndegwa and Joshua Chelego Kulei.

Further, while the CR-12 form’s header talks of the company having nominal share capital of Sh40,000, the stake allocated to each of the shareholders sums up to Sh21.3 million.

Mr Moi’s lawyers have since demanded a retraction of a newspaper story that had linked him to Mitchell Cotts Ltd. 

“Our instructions are that the said article was calculated to disparage our client in his character and reputation as a senator, State officer and holder of public office, and further that the publication thereof has injured our client in his character and reputation as a senator, statesman and holder of public office and legitimate individual with business concerns both in and outside of Kenya,” the demand letter reads in part.  

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