Nairobi News

GeneralMust ReadNews

Uhuru, Matiangi were ‘jealous’ of me – SportPesa CEO Ronald Karauri

By Winnie Mabel January 18th, 2024 2 min read

Kasarani Member of Parliament, Honorable Ronald Karauri, who is also the Chief Executive Officer of top sport betting company SportPesa, insinuated the Jubilee government had an axe to grind with him because his company had achieved success beyond what was expected of it.

Taking to his socials to participate in Throwback Thursday, he remembered back to the launch of SportPesa Racing a Formula One car and how this event triggered former president Uhuru Kenyatta and former ‘super cabinet secretary’ Fred Matiangi into haunting him.

“Throwback to a time when there was a SportPesa Racing F1 car (this is at the launch). Rumor has it that this is what triggered the previous President to wage war on SportPesa using Matiangi. At the time I was naive enough to believe it was a huge misunderstanding and all I had to do was to explain to them and everything would be ok. I came to learn the hard way that we had reached levels we were not supposed to reach, because we were ‘nobodies’. I even met a young man at the club who told me that when he grows up he wants to be fought by the government like me. 🤣 From 90B tax assessments to having a compromised media house writing about me every single day, wueh. I Wouldn’t wish it on anybody, but nothing good comes easy, this is something I probably had to go through to grow into who I am today. #TBT,” said Mr Karauri.

During the Jubilee government reign, SportPesa was shut down by Uhuru’s regime for close to two years amid a tax dispute and a number of its foreign directors deported. This also forced the betting firm to sack hundreds of employees. SportPesa then lost its license when the Betting Control and Licensing Board cancelled it over non-payment of taxes amounting to Sh95 billion.

The renowned betting firm then went on to face internal leadership and ownership wrangles involving its directors and who owns what amount of shares in the company.

After three years of operating based on a temporary court order amid its ownership wrangles over the SportPesa trademark, the betting firm managed to receive another official government license in January 2022.

Prior to this drama, in January 2018, SportPesa cancelled all of its local sports sponsorship following the implementation of a 35% taxation by the Jubilee government as well. Betting firms attempted to stop this new tax implementation in court but the judges ruled against them in December 2017.

“This tax is on revenue before we pay the other tax, SportPesa we are here to stay and we will try to be efficient and unfortunately, we have to drop sponsorships,” said Honorable Karauri then.

Karauri, also a renowned pilot, strived to revive the company with a fresh license and also worked to personally rebrand by successfully vying for the Kasarani parliamentary seat in the 2022 polls.

Also read: IGAD Kampala meetings: Will Ruto bow to Museveni’s demands?

Dating someone’s husband does not make you a side chick…