Managers of SportPesa-linked firm arrested over alleged fraud, one still at large
Wilson Ngatia Karungaru, a director of Milestone Games Limited, a company associated with betting firm SportsPesa and Edward Chauro Matoke, the operations manager, have been arrested and will face charges of fraud.
According to Nairobi Regional DCI boss Ben Nyakwaka, the two were arrested on Friday afternoon and identified by the Betting Control and Licensing Board (BCLB) members as the persons who were using brand SportPesa.
“On Saturday October 31, 2020, we received a report from BCLB chairman Cyrus Maina and director of the board, Peter Kiria Mbugi, that there was illegal betting where by a SportPesa which is a brand of Pevan East Africa Limited, whose license had been revoked and one of the directors may have given it's brands sportpesa paybill numbers, short codes, ussd code and domain sites to Milestone Games Limited,” said Nyakwaka.
He added: “Investigations were launched and we established that Milestone Games Limited had notified BCLB that they have taken brands of Pevans E. A limited SportPesa, which the board found to be irregular and cancelled their license too.
Before they were given approval by the board to use SportPesa pay bill numbers, they had [already] started betting. The board stopped Safaricom from betting using the firm's paybill numbers, short codes and ussd codes.”
Nyakwaka said that in agreement with the BCLB legal team, a charge of inviting members of the public to betting contrary to section 14 (1) (d) of the betting, lotteries and gaming act cap 131 laws of Kenya was preferred.
It is believed that during the short duration the gaming site was up, SportPesa could have raked in hundreds of millions from gamers before going down again.