A Naivas spokesperson announced that the supermarket chain had retained one of the largest corporate law firms in Africa to challenge a bid by a grandson of the founder to obtain a stake in the supermarket chain.
The pan-African law firm Coulson Harney LLP will handle Newton Kagiri Mukuha’s appeal to the Nakuru County Court, where he is fighting for shares in the Naivas supermarket chain.
A month after the Kenya Court of Appeals affirmed a ruling that businessman John Kagiri has no ownership in Naivas Supermarkets, the company has announced that it is changing legal representation.
“Take notice that the respondent Charles Mukuha Simon Gashwe has appointed the firm of Coulson Harney LLP Advocates…to act for it in this matter instead of Ms Thuita Kiiru & Company Advocates,” says a letter to Mr Kagiri.
“All correspondence and process should be addressed to and served upon the said firm.”
At the Nakuru High Court, where Mr Kagiri has already secured restraining orders stopping further sales of stake in Naivas, he is also seeking the ouster of his brother, David Kimani, as CEO of Naivas, a seat on the board of the retailer, a 20 percent stake and additional shares from the 20 percent stake held by his father, the late Peter Mukuha Kago.
He also petitioned the court to freeze further share sales in Naivas and for a deposit in an interest-earning joint account of Sh6 billion, which a consortium of investors paid for a 30 percent stake in the retailer.
He also says he owns 20% of Naivas, worth about Sh4 billion, from the seed capital he used to start the supermarket chain, and gets a share of his father’s stake in the business.
Appellant judges David Musinga, Hannah Okwengu and Asike Makhanda agreed to freeze further share sales but did not issue orders on Mr Kagiri’s other demands.
“In the meantime, the status quo in so far as the shares in dispute are concerned be maintained pending hearing and determination of the appeal,” said the judges in a ruling delivered on November 25 last year.
Two years ago, Naivas received Sh6 billion from the International Finance Corporation (IFC), private equity firms Amethis and MCB Equity Fund and German sovereign wealth fund DEG for a minority stake of 30 per cent.