UK court orders ‘king con’ Somaia to pay businessmen Sh5.7bn

Tuesday January 12 2016

Jailed businessman Ketan Somaia who was on January 12, 2015 ordered to pay two businessmen a total of Sh5.7 billion by a UK court. FILE PHOTO | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Jailed businessman Ketan Somaia, who was on January 12, 2015 ordered to pay two businessmen a total of Sh5.7 billion by a UK court. FILE PHOTO | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By PETER LEFTIE
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Jailed businessman Ketan Somaia has been ordered to pay two businessmen a total of Sh5.7 billion.

A UK court ruled that Mr Somaia will have to serve an additional 16 years in jail if he fails to pay Mr Murli Mirchandani and Mr Dilip Shah the amount. He is already serving an eight-year jail term at the Belmarsh prison in the UK.

Under the terms of the confiscation orders, delivered by the Old Bailey court, Mr Somaia will pay Sh2.9 billion to the public purse, Sh2.6 billion to Mr Mirchandani and an additional Sh29 million to Mr Shah.

During the hearing of the case, in which Mr Mirchandani had sued Mr Somaia for defrauding him the billions of shillings, the court was told how the latter, described as “King Con”, deceived the former into making multiple wire transfers totalling Sh1.7 billion to his accounts.

“You breached their trust in you in a careless, amoral and flagrant manner,” the judge told Mr Somaia during the sentencing.

Mr Somaia was a well-connected Kanu-era operative who owned vast interests in the hotel and casino industry, including the Block Hotels. His protracted court battles with businessman Kamlesh Pattni dominated headlines in the 1990s.

His name also featured prominently in the multibillion-shilling Goldenberg scandal.