Billionaire businessman Kimani Rugendo has suffered a setback in his bid to a winding up petition against his juice maker Kevian Ltd.
Justice Francis Tuiyott, while ruling that the case will proceed to full hearing, said there was need for cross-examination of witnesses on the circumstances giving rise to a number of correspondences between Kevian and Hipora Business East Africa Ltd, the firm seeking to wind up Kevian over a Sh2,799,625 debt.
Kevian is the maker of Afia and Pick N’ Peel juices. Hipora, which supplies staff to different companies to check on theft by customers and employees, dispatched eight employees — three system controllers and five double checkers — stationed at Ngong Road, Thika, and at the old Castle Brewing plant, earning monthly salaries of Sh52,000 and Sh42,500 respectively.
Hipora later filed the liquidation proceedings arguing that Kevian was unable to pay its debts, a claim disputed by Mr Rugendo.
In an affidavit sworn on December 20, 2017, Mr Rugendo said that on the night of January 7, 2017, Kevian's warehouse at Ramani, Thika was broken into under the watch of security guards working in cahoots with thieves as well as one of Hipora's staff.
The Hipora staffer, Mr Rugendo further claimed, used Kevian’s stamp impression “for purposes of removing the company’s goods from the warehouse in a clear case of theft.”
The manufacturer put the value of the stolen goods at Sh19,710,306 and responded to Hipora’s May 2017 demand letter by disputing the payment demand and issuing their own counterclaim of Sh19.7 million.
In reply, Mr John Wanjohi- one of Hipora's owners- said the claim of theft was brought as an afterthought and meant to defeat the winding up case.
In the ruling, justice Tuiyott said at this stage of the proceedings the court will not involve itself in a minute and detailed examination of the claims contained in the affidavit, which can be tested through cross-examination.
“It is plain and obvious to this Court that if the debt is disputed then the petition is unlikely to succeed and there would be no need to allow it to proceed to further hearing,” the judge said adding that it is only fair that the petition proceeds to hearing.