I have Sh2B to pay you, Goldenscape’s Wangai to distraught investors

Thursday, March 4th, 2021 00:00 |
Peter Wangai, CEO, Goldenscape. Photo/PD/Miliam Murigi

The founder of troubled Goldenscape greenhouses Peter Wangai had some choice words for more than 3,000 agitated investors, in a rare interview with Business Hub, barely a week after an ugly public spat between the firm and its distressed investors.

“My silence was intentional, I was out there looking for money, and you cannot address them without money.

So I had to go underground to look for money then talk to these people. So I really had to work my mathematics out and I got between $30million and $50million, so this month and next month that money will be with me,” he said in an interview – without disclosing the bank’s identity.

Quizzed on the sources of those funds, Wangai said he was running a factory in Nairobi “offering value-addition for the greenhouses,” which he says he used to acquire a forward contract from the said local bank.

A forward contract is a non-standardized contract between two parties to buy or sell an asset at a specified future time at a price agreed on at the time of conclusion of the contract, making it a type of derivative instrument.

About 3,300 investors last Wednesday threatened to sue owners of the company and its affiliates after they “defaulted on their contractual and moral obligation to pay Sh18.6 billion to thousands of Kenyans who had invested in their numerous projects.”

“We demand swift and stern action to be taken within 30 days, failure to which we are giving our lawyers instructions to commence private prosecution proceedings,” they said through their chairman John Opanda during a press briefing in Nairobi’s Kabete area.

In phone interview yesterday, Mutea Muthuri, lead Counsel, at Mutea Mwange and Associates, the Advocates representing victims in the civil case, said that Mr. Wangai was last week issued with over 3,000 demand letters from the investors, adding that a legal suit will be issued upon expiry of the 14 days ultimatum.

“We have overwhelming evidence against him. What he needs to do is give us a clear counter offer on how he intends to pay the amount in question – failure to which we will proceed to court and we are determined to use all legal mechanisms and we will go all the way to the highest court to seek justice for our victims,” said Mutea.

Mr Wangai claims he is expecting an approval of an estimated Sh 2Billion from an international bank meant to refund the unhappy investors – who last week through their lawyers issued an ultimatum to the firm’s owners demanding that the company refund over Sh18.6 billion of their investments or face court action.

But in a retort this week, Mr Wangai said he “was in the final stages of exchanging contracts with the bank involved to get about Sh2Billion,” claiming the amount will be sufficient to reimburse the angry investors who are keen to square in corridors of justice.

“Due to private reasons I cannot reveal details of that bank. I will start first by paying those investors who invested smaller amounts in my projects once the amount is downloaded in my account then I can revive my company back. I will bounce back,” said Wangai yesterday.

“We are coming up with another contract which is one or two weeks away, we want to engage financial planners, lawyers to offer a well-binding contract that will also offer a better exit clause,” he said in an interviewadding that such a deal will also offer capital paybacks to some investors keen to permanently part ways with the company.

Goldenscape founder was last year charged for obtaining money by pretenses, conspiracy to defraud, false representation, and issuing bad cheques – allegations he has vehemently denied. He was also accused of issuing bouncing cheques.

“These are just allegations, in fact I have paid some of these investors Sh1.12Billion as a return on investments between 2015 and 2019 so far and additional Sh37million between April and August 2020,” he said.

Mr. Mutea said he was not aware of such payments in their records.

Last year Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) launched a manhunt against Wangai with detectives on March 12, 2020 raiding the company’s offices in Karen, Nairobi rounding up five staff members for questioning.

A total of 300 people who claim that they invested in the company have since lodged complaints with the DCI with additional 3,000 last week joining the legal suit and gave the DCI 30 days to re-arrest directors of the Goldenscape Greenhouses.

The investors, who have been waiting for a refund of their money since the company went under, say that the DCI and the DPP have been reluctant in fast-tracking the case since 2019.

For Goldenscape Greenhouses, the script has been the same for many investors, and it all ends in tears. 

Most said that only one instalment of promised returns is honored in the deals, which is intended to be a bait to persuade others about authenticity of the investment.

On the day of payment last year, the company sent investors emails with amended contracts with reduced returns and contract period.

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