ODM Appeals Ruling on Safaricom in Kenya

Mergers, Acquisitions and Financial Results

The legal tussle over the planned sale of Safaricom shares to the public yesterday climbed a notch higher when opposition politicians moved to the Court of Appeal seeking orders to block it. Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) leaders Anyang' Nyong'o, Omingo Magara and Mwandawiro Mghanga want the sale stopped until the Privatisation Act is enacted.

Prof Nyong'o specifically wants the Sh34 billion sale stopped until the case is heard and determined. "It is in the interest of justice, fair play, judicial efficacy as well as the rule of law to grant interim stay pending a decision on the intended appeal," he says in court documents.

If granted, the appeal will scuttle the IPO for which the Government has set a tight schedule to enable it list before end of the year. If all goes according to plan, the flotation would run from early December to just before Christmas.

The politicians are contesting a High Court ruling by Mr Justice Joseph Nyamu a month ago that allowed the sale to go on, based on findings that there was adequate legislative framework to conclude it before the Privatisation Act was enacted.

In another landmark ruling, Mr Justice Nyamu said the separation of powers in a democratic society meant that the Judiciary could not be used to order the Executive on how to conduct its mandate.

The judge had also found that the sale of Safaricom was of immense public interest and should be allowed to proceed on that basis. Advisors are currently in the second, and possibly final, week of due diligence.

Business Daily