The hearing of a case in which Kenyan businessman Kirimi Koome has been sued over Sh 400 million company by a Rwandese national will kick off tomorrow.
Justice Alfred Mabeya ordered the parties to be ready for the trial which has approximately six witnesses in total.
The Rwandese national Desire Muhinyuza who is the 1st plaintiff will be first to testify.
Through lawyer Danstan Omari, Muhinyuza argues that he is the legitimate owner of Stay Online Limited.
He claims that Kirimi was a director at the company and held shares in trust for him. However, he (Muhinyuza) is the beneficial owner of the company.
“The plaintiff exercises indirect ownership and indirect control as a beneficial owner as his shares are held through his nominee Koome and he owns a controlling interest in Stay Online Rwanda which in turn owns the Stay Online Limited, Kenya,” Muhinyuza states.
On the other hand, Koome claims to be the rightful owner and sole shareholder of the company.
However, Muhinyuza claims that Koome was chosen as Stay Online Limited’s agent in Kenya because of the difficulty for a foreigner to register a company name in the country.
According to Omari, his client exercises significant control and influence in Stay Online Kenya Limited considering that he exercised decision making power over the management and operations of the company from it’s incorporation as per resolutions of Stay Online Rwanda dated 1st April 2023, appointment of Koome as a director of the company and the local representative and generally having the ability to influence the strategic direction of Stay Online Limited and also giving instructions that are binding on the company’s management.
In addition, Omari notes that beneficial ownership is an important concept in many legal contexts, particularly in the context of corporate law.
“Beneficial ownership refers to the natural person(s) who ultimately owns or controls a company, even if that person is not the legal owner of the company. The concept is important because it can be used to identify the people who are truly responsible for a company’s actions, even if those people are trying to hide their identities,” Omari states.