Laura Akungu and businessman Sriram Bharatam

Laura Akunga, the woman who announced that she had ‘kissed’ her husband with a Sh10 million car birthday gift, has been sued for fraudulently obtaining Sh17.6 million from an Asian businessman.

Laura sent gossip hungry social media wild when she said in later interviews that aged only 28, she is a millionaire who has transacted businesses worth Sh50 billion through her company, Benchmark Solutions.

In a case filed at the Milimani Commercial Courts on March 31, Sriram Bharatam of Iridium Interactive has sued Laura, with whom he was well acquainted for fraudulently obtaining $17, 894 (Sh17.6 million) from him.

“On or about the month of January 2013, Akunga experienced financial difficulties. Family Bank had sought to recover a loan of Sh40million which she had guaranteed somebody, who had defaulted.

“Since she is known to me, I decided to lend her $50,000 (Sh4.9 million) in cash because there wasn’t enough time to do a bank transfer. According to her, she had been given 48 hours within which to clear the Sh40 million loan she had guaranteed someone,” says Sriram in his affidavit.

Sriram adds that at some point, Laura told him that she had managed to clear the loan, but her business was experiencing financial difficulty.

“On or about the month of April 2013, Laura reached out to me seeking more funding. She gave me a detailed plan of the new business which she intended to start. Her ideas seemed legitimate. This made me lend her more money on the understanding that the amount would be refunded within a short period,” the businessman says.

In August, Laura allegedly reached out to Sriram again seeking financial assistance. She had failed to pay one of her suppliers known as Granada Trading. Granada had threatened to report her to the police if she did not settle the amount owed.

“I coordinated and sent $75,000 (Sh7.35 million) by bank transfer and further arranged cash locally and she was able to settle the debt,” says Sriram, who showed The Nairobian copies of the bank transfer documents which are also filed in court.

“Laura had indicated to me that her company, Benchmark Solutions, makes around Sh80 to 90 million in revenue, but when I asked for financial records, she kept on giving flimsy excuses. I later gathered that the company only makes between Sh6 and 8 million in revenue.

In addition to the above, Laura indicated that her mother was part of the board of directors of the company and that she was therefore paying her a salary. The money for the salary was borrowed from us. However, after meeting the defendant’s mother, she vehemently denied ever being paid any money by Benchmark Solutions.

This made me realise that things were not going on right. I requested for payment of all the monies that we had been lending. These demands were in futility,” says Sriram.

The businessman says Laura stopped communicating with him in October and did not answer phone calls nor reply to text and email messages demanding payment.

“As such, Laura owes me and my company Sh4,177,894. I have constantly demanded for the repayment of the above monies without success.”

- Additioal reporting by Irvin Jalang’o