by Muthoni Kimani
November 19, 2020
Betting firm Sportpesa on Wednesday, November 18, won a significant court battle against the Betting Control and Licensing Board (BCLB).
The High Court quashed the recent ban on the use of sportpesa brand by Milestone Bet and ordered the reopening of its Pay bill platform by Safaricom.
"The ex parte Applicant is granted leave to apply for an order of Certiorari to move into this Court for purposes of being quashed, a decision of the Respondent contained in the letter dated October 31, 2020, Ref No. BCLB 11/152 VOL. I (14) indefinitely and unilaterally suspending the lawfully issued license to the Ex Parte Applicant," Lady Justice Nyamweya ordered.
Speaking to Kenyans.co.ke, a Sportpesa representative affirmed the ruling with a formal statement expected imminently.
The Court also ordered the Communication Authority of Kenya (CAK) to reactivate the company's website, effectively giving the betting firm the all-clear to resume its services within the country. The company can now also access its bank accounts after the High Court lifted orders barring it from dealing in the cash deposits over a Ksh14.3 billion tax claim by the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA).
"The preservation order issued on September 11, 2020, and extended on October 5, 2020, be and is hereby discharged," the judge ordered on November 13.
On October 30, the company's CEO Ronald Karauri announced that the company had acquired a new Betting Control and Licensing Board (BCLB) license.
"SportPesa is back! I'm happy to announce that the SportPesa brand is back under a new BCLB license," reads an excerpt from his statement.
However, a highly publicized fall out among the wealthy investors behind the firm curtailed the comeback move.
The Board's Chairman Cyrus Maina had told the Court that Milestones Games Limited violated regulatory protocols and has no right to utilize the various domains, Pay bills and short codes used by Sportpesa.
He further argued that the trade name Sportpesa belongs to M/S Pevans East Africa Limited.