A senior Economic Crimes Investigative Unit official who cannot be named said: “This is a national problem, the DCI, EACC and the office of the Prosecutor are all aware of the issue but at the moment there is nothing much we can do
One of Kenya’s highly respected industrialists, Manilal Premchand Chandaria, a publicly acclaimed philanthropist faces an uncertain future as some of his businesses face imminent collapse due to tax evasion allegations. His multi-billion shillings business empire is under investigation by KRA and auctioneer’s hammer over bank loans that have not been serviced, The Weekly Vision, www.theweeklyvision.net has learnt.
Mr Chandaria’s businesses received huge loans from commercial banks which have accrued interest; the businesses have not been generating enough money to be able to service the loans since the emergence of Covid -19 in 2020. There is also the issue of tax arrears and alleged evasion from the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA).
Kaluworks Limited, manufacturers of aluminium cookware and roofing sheets which is wholly owned by Mr Chandaria’s Comcraft Group, is currently facing the auctioneer’s hummer over a $60 million debt owed to a consortium of Kenyan financial institutions. The Weekly Vision has established that there has been an escalating and mounting pressure on Mr Chandaria’s family and the group in recent weeks from commercial banks and other financial institutions who have published notices in the local dailies announcing the auction of assets owned by Kaluworks over the non-performing loans.
KRA has not entered the scene yet because Mr Chandaria’s contacts in powerful government offices seem to be shielding him from the taxman, for now. The tax arrears, tax evasion allegations and the pending multi-billion shilling court cases, the fading or crippled bank accounts and businesses are only the tip of the iceberg of a collapsing financial and industrial paper giant. It is a fact that the industrialist whose personal accumulated assets and cash are estimated at $ 2.21 billion is headed for a clash with the Kenya Revenue Authority that is if he fails to settle a huge tax demand note from the taxman. Commercial financial institutions that loaned him money running into billions are also on his neck.
Some of the commercial banks Comcraft & Kaluworks are indebted to include I & M Bank, NIC Bank and Bank of Baroda among many others. The banks have instructed auctioneers and debt collectors to auction off multi-million dollar properties including residential and commercial complexes owned by Mr Chandaria, Comcraft and Kaluworks
The multi-national corporation he chairs is worth billions in dollars, according to the documents unearthed by The Weekly Vision Investigation team. At the moment the group faces multi-billion shillings litigation claims from numerous institutions and Mr Chandaria and his legal advisers have effectively locked out the media from exposing the rote, apart from tiny un-damaging bits and pieces which leak out once in a while.
Most of these transactions, our investigative team discovered amounted to $ 7 billion which Mr Chandaria and his multi-national conglomerate owe financial institutions and KRA despite a personal wealth that runs into trillions of shillings, but he has ignored to service them for years citing powerful connection in the corridors of power.
A senior Economic Crimes Investigative Unit official who cannot be named said: “This is a national problem, the DCI, EACC and the office of the Prosecutor are all aware of the issue but at the moment there is nothing much we can do but wait for orders for us to take any action,” the officer said that:
“The inter-agencies investigation team has been very exhaustive at the international and national level, we established the monies owed to the government and commercial financial institutions run into billions of shillings.
Some of the commercial banks Comcraft & Kaluworks are indebted to include I & M Bank, NIC Bank and Bank of Baroda among many others. The banks have instructed auctioneers and debt collectors to auction off multi-million dollar properties including residential and commercial complexes owned by Mr Chandaria, Comcraft and Kaluworks.
A senior executive at one of the financial institutions who sought anonymity because he is not allowed to speak to the media said his bank loaned money to Kaluworks because Mr Manu Chandaria allegedly presented himself as the face of the company. He is the founder chair and senior member of the Comcraft Group, and Chairman of the Bank of India Advisory Committee in Nairobi among others. His business interests are extensive covering the Kenyan economy as well as 50 other countries.
Mr Chandaria’s pioneer outfit, Kaluworks is a subsidiary of Clovis Company Limited, a Bermuda-registered investment holding company that is in turn owned by the Comcraft Group, of which Chandaria is the chairman and controlling shareholder. The man can easily escape local justice because of his money, international connections and perceived public respectability.
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