Mozzart Kenya country manager, Saša Krneta, has been linked to a multimillion secret money laundering syndicate that is denying Kenya Revenue Authority millions of shillings. Insiders at the firm now want the taxman to post independent officers at the firm headquarters as those currently involved have been compromised to circumvent facts. It is not only KRA that is being petitioned but also officers from Serious Economic Crime and National Intelligence Services. KRA director general is James Mburu. Krneta is said to collude with foreign directors, one a Zimbabwean and two Serbians. Weekly Citizen has information that to perfect the art, Krneta boasts of having pocketed Betting Control and Licensing Board managing director Peter Mbugi. Mbugi replaced Liti Wambua who was sacked by Interior cabinet secretary Fred Matiang’i whose docket betting falls under. It is not known whether board chairman Cyrus Maina and the board and director a one Kwasi are aware of Mbugi’s dealings with Krneta and his cartels.
An underworld operative just like other key players in the betting industry, Krneta is said to operate secret bank accounts paid from Mozzarbet proceedings hiding under the pretext of offering various services thus legitimate for payments.
The said firms, Weekly Citizen has information, provide no services but are a conduit of money laundering that find way in safe havens. Aware the government is likely to institute investigations and to cover up dirty deals, Kenyans will have noticed that of late Mozzarbet has embarked on public relations gimmicks in the name of contributing towards community development.
Sources reveal that the plot is to bring on board and compromise local media by paying handsomely sponsored content highlighting the firm’s contributions to avoid negative publicity of money laundering, sexual favours in employment and foreigners employed in strategic departments using suspicious work permits. The recent public gimmick perfected being Sh20 million sponsorship of Kakamega-based Home Boyz soccer club.
The public-shy Krneta who it is said his true colours are known when cutting underground deals, and winking at African ladies mostly in short skirts with exposed thighs or with tight clothes showing behind maps, was at the Homeboyz function displaying the team’s shirt. Kmeta in short has loose zip. One department linked to dubious dealings is the computer where manipulations in the order of the day. BCLB controls and manages the authorisation of lotteries and prize competitions e-licenses. The betting firm associated with former East African Community cabinet minister Musa Sirma is conning Kenyans by deliberately failing to announce the names of its alleged jackpot winners. Besides Sirma, other directors of Mozzartbet include Zimbabwean Emmanuel Charumbira, who owns Open Skies Management, Loncar Koviljka, a Serbian and Melentijevic Branimir.
Highly placed sources revealed that Mozzart Kenya is using what it is calling winners privacy to announce fake winners in its multimillion shillings jackpots.
The firm, insides revealed, is seeking to redeem its image after it was named in a money laundering scheme which saw bets on its platforms go down.
Sirma, a close ally of Baringo senator Gideon Moi has been dropping the name of the son of Kenya’s second president to scare away those trying to probe Mozzartbet’s suspicious activities. The latest congame involved dishing out Sh10 million windfall to a nameless man from Nakuru county in the Mozzartbet Daily Jackpot.
The man, the firm announced, had correctly predicted the outcome of 13 matches that were played in July last year. The nameless man had placed his bet on the website mozzartbet.co.ke with a stake of only Sh50. But sources revealed that the concealing of the winner’s name with the excuse that just like the previous winner, he wanted to remain anonymous to manage the expectations of his friends and family, was part of the congame to ensure the public did not make a followup to establish whether he existed or not.
It has donated medical equipment including personal protective equipment, masks, disinfectants, thermometers and other essential materials in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic as part of its strategy to clean up its tainted image.
Among the counties that have benefited from its donations include Nakuru, Siaya, Kisii, Embu, Nyandarua, Baringo, Bomet, Kisumu, Kakamega and Kitui. It has also provided water to residents of Imbo village in Homa Bay county by drilling boreholes.
It also helped set up an intensive care unit in Tiaty, Baringo county, which it claimed dramatically improved health services. Other equipment donated by the firm to hospitals included crank beds, patient monitors, oxygen concentrators, bedside carts, Macintosh mattresses and other essential materials. Most of the donations were handed over to the beneficiaries by Sirma, who has been boasting that his firm was untouchable due to his close connections to State House. Mozzarbet hit the headlines recently after the High Court froze over Sh300 million belonging to a businessman who received more than Sh500 million from it in what was flagged as a suspicious case of money laundering.
In his ruling, Justice James Wakiaga ordered the preservation of the funds held at Diamond Trust Bank and Cooperative bank, belonging to Kimaco Connections Ltd and Pescom Kenya Ltd, whose directors are former MP the late Peter Kiilu and Consolata Kiilu.Banking industry players are questioning why Central Bank of Kenya is not investigating the said institutions on money laundering grounds as it happened with the infamous National Youth service scam payments that saw anumber of banks being fined .
The court heard that Kimaco Connections received Sh576 million from Mozzartbet Kenya and Sh95 million from a software firm, Open Skies, which is owned by a Zimbabwean that is also a shareholder in the betting firm. Kimaco Connections later wired Sh242 million to the accounts Open Skies Management, in what was alleged by authorities as a suspect transaction.
Investigations by Assets Recovery Agency showed Mozzartbet received Sh641 million in a period of three months. Of the amount, Sh384 million was through paybill number 311372 and the funds were later distributed to several companies, including Open Skies. Further investigations revealed that Emmanuel Charumbira, who owns Open Skies Management, is also a director of Mozzartbet Kenya and Mozzartbet Africa. The agency said the transactions constitute snuffing and layering of funds in money laundering scheme, to conceal the movement of cash. And despite receiving the amount, Kimaco Connections filed nil returns to evade paying tax.
According to court documents, Branimir received Sh12.8 million from Kimaco while Sirma was given Sh17.2 million from Pescon Kenya.
The directors’ bank accounts and M-Pesa paybill linked to Kiilu and Kimaco Connections were used as conduits of money laundering.
To polish up its image, Mozzart Bet has been rolling out programmes to help vulnerable groups. Last December, the firm donated Sh1.5 million to the Kayole 1 Health Centre in Nairobi and also made another donation of Sh10 million worth of Personal Protective Equipment to front line professionals, medical equipment to the Ngara Health Centre, Chemolingot Sub-County Hospital in Tiaty, Mathare North Health Centre, Kahawa West Health Centre each worth Sh1.5 million while the Pumwani Maternity and Mama Lucy Kibaki hospitals each received donations worth Sh3 million.
The firm also made a donation worth Sh10 million towards support of efforts in combating Covid-19 in Baringo country. The PPE donation came at a time government hospitals faced challenges protecting health workers on the frontline fighting the novel disease. While handing over the donation to the Council of Governor’s chair governor Wycliffe Oparanya alongside other leaders, Sirma thanked Mozzartbet for playing its part as a non-governmental partner in the fight the virus.
But sources said the equipment donated were not worth the amount stated by the betting firm. In fact the said equipments are not functioning being second hand refurbished ones and frequently breaking down. Weekly Citizen has further established that once the equipment were donated, the firm rarely sends personnel to fix them since they are known to be in poor conditions as they are living them to rot.
Mozzartbet marketing manager Frank Ochieng is the brains behind the current publicity gimmick. Krneta replaced Goran Vulcovic as the first country representative who was seconded to Kenya by Mozzartbet Serbia. The firm to lure Kenyans and easily launder millions of shillings has invested heavily on online and manual gambling, betting of live games, virtual ones and lottery is part of the scheme.
According to an insider, top managers are well paid compared to other low cadre ones. We could not establish if it is true that apart from tax evasion, the betting firm does not remit statutory dues to National Social Security Fund, the National Hospital Insurance Fund and Paye as You Earn as required by the law.