The High Court has issued a temporary order suspending the license issued to Milestone Games to use the SportPesa brand.

This means that the use of the SportPesa brand in Kenyan’s gaming business has been stopped.

This follows a petition from a shareholder named Asenath Wachera Maina who owns 21 per cent of Pevans East Africa and comes against the backdrop of wrangles amongst shareholders.

Pevans East Africa started the sports gaming business in Kenya the under SportPesa brand.

While issuing the order, Justice Anthony Ndung’u said he was satisfied that an arguable case is established according to the facts before the court and suspended the license pending the determination of the substantive judicial review application.

“From the disclosed facts, I am satisfied that an arguable case is established that requires ventilation at an inter-partes hearing. The leave sought is thus merited and is hereby granted,” Justice Ndung’u said.

“It is hereby ordered that leave so granted do operate as a stay of implementation and thereby suspend the operation and use of the impugned bookmakers name licence number 0000448 issued to Milestone Games Limited to trade as SportPesa pending the hearing and determination of the substantive judicial review application.”

In 2019, after allegedly failing to pay taxes to the Kenya Revenue Authority to the tune of Sh95 billion, Pevans East Africa lost its license and ceased operations.

Ronald Karauri. PHOTO/COURTESY

On October 30, 2020, SportPesa sprung back through Milestone Games, which apparently is owned by some of Pevans East Africa shareholders albeit not without opposition from the regulator.

Among the Pevans East Africa shareholders, is Kasarani MP Ronald Karauri.

However, after SportPesa got its approval from the Betting Control and Licensing Board (BCLB) in August, a court battle over key assets, including the trademark and web domains ensued.

Paul Wanderi Ndung'u. PHOTO/COURTESY

Maina and another shareholder named Paul Wanderi Ndung’u, who owns a 17 per cent stake in Pevans East Africa accused Milestone Games of acquiring the license under mysterious circumstances during the electioneering period.

Maina faulted the board for letting Milestone use SportPesa as a brand, arguing the move was unreasonable and contravened betting laws.

She also said the Pevans East Africa did not sanction the May 26, 2022, deal that allows current use of SportPesa brand.