SK Macharia challenges powers denying him control over son's estate

The media mogul wants to be involved in management of Directline Assurance Limited

In Summary
  • Directline has 15 million shares distributed amongst 10 shareholders.
  • They include Janus Ltd, Sureinvest Company and Stenny Investments Ltd holding three million shares each.

Milimani law courts.
Milimani law courts.
Image: FILE

Media mogul SK Macharia has asked Milimani Commercial Court to suspend implementation of an arbitration award that restrained him from interfering with the management of Directline Assurance Limited.  

Macharia said unless the implementation is stopped, his right to access justice and a fair hearing would be defeated. He claims the orders issued by the arbitrator are illegal.

Justice Wilfrida Okwany directed the application be served on the respondents in the case and the matter be mentioned on July 6 for directions.

The respondents are listed as Philip Aliker, Superinvest Company Limited, Stenny Investments Limited, Triad Networks, AKM Investments, Kevin McCourt, Janus Limited, Geoffrey Radier and James Gachoka.

The arbitrator Philip Aliker in a lengthy decision dated May 11 declared that SK Macharia only holds 9.6 per cent ordinary shares in Directline through Royal Media Services while 90 per cent is held by  the media owner's late son John Gichia Macharia, who is the majority shareholder. 

Directline has 15 million shares distributed amongst 10 shareholders. They include Janus Ltd, Sureinvest Company and Stenny Investments Ltd holding three million shares each.

Other shareholders are Triad Networks (2,999,407 shares), AKM Investment (1,551,000), Royal Media Services (1,448,593) and Royal Credit Card (997).

The arbitrator declared that SK Macharia unlawfully interfered with the management of the company and must be restrained

He subsequently ordered SK to disclose to the majority shareholders in writing the sums of money they have authorised Directline to pay and to whom in respect of dividends and loans.

This was to be done within seven days of the award which was issued in May this year.

The arbitrator also issued an award requiring SK, his wife Purity Gathoni, and Royal Media Services to deliver up possession of Hazina Tours 17 floor Monrovia Street and surrender all documents and other property of Directline Assurance Limited in their custody.

They are to be handed over to AKM Investment and the other companies.

They were also stopped from interfering with the attendance and management of direct line assurance.

In the case that was before arbitration, shareholders of Directline challenged the relevant shareholdings and the right to control the company.

The company was founded in 1998 by Gichia, who tragically died on April 26, 2018. He is survived by a son Adam Kamau Macharia and his parents SK and Purity Macharia.

The company has 17 branches nationwide and is regulated by the Insurance Regulatory Authority. It has a staff of about 287 employees, supported by 4000 registered agents.

The arbitrator in his lengthy decision said the relationship between Macharia and his son Gichia may be described as tempestuous.

“Father and son worked closely together in matters of business but did not get on well. That is a tremendous sadness to Lisa Anyango (the mother of Dr Macharia’s grandson) from whom I received oral evidence,” he said

Aliker said after hearing the evidence, it is clear that the shareholders' dispute is an intra-family dispute for control of the company with grandfather and grandson pitted against each another.

SK Mcharia is, in the words of Amenya, trying to take control of the company because Gichia is no longer alive.


(edited by Amol Awuor)

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