20 May 2012

Kenya: Chandarias Stopped From Meddling in Sonal

TWO senior managers of Guardian Bank have been stopped from interfering with the affairs of Sonal Holdings until the determination of a suit pending in court.

Justice Leonard Njagi directed Magan Chandaria and Hetul Chandaria, the chairman and director of Guardian Bank respectively, to cease meddling with the affairs or operations of Sonal until the case has been concluded.

The judge said in his ruling that the company, through Pareshkumar Keshavji Dodhia, requires protection. Justice Njagi, however, absolved Guardian Bank of any blame saying that there was no evidence that the suspect activities of the Chandaria's were sanctioned by the bank.

In the case, Sonal moved to court accusing the two of interfering with the activities of the company without authority. It was Dodhia's case that the two had taken over the control of the company including its business and financial operations.

The court heard that Sonal has an account at Guardian and had further obtained financial facilities secured by a debenture as well as personal guarantees.

And by virtue of their dominant positions, the two were now operating the company's bank account and were making numerous unexplained and suspicious credits, debits and other transactions without the company's authority. The businessman further said the two were making irregular inward and outward transfers of money using the account.

It was his contention that the two had further forged the company letterheads and stamps, which they were actively using to enter alleged transactions, contracts and commitments with overseas suppliers. Dodhia told the court that unless the two were stopped, the company would be exposed to severe and irreparable loss and damage. In reply, the two Chandaria's denied the allegations.

Justice Njagi noted that at one time, using the Sonal letterheads, Hetul and Amid Chandaria placed goods worth tens of millions of shillings from India and Taiwan. "There are about 25 such orders and it is not clear how such officials acquired the plaintiff's (Sonal) letterheads and whether they had any authority to use those letterheads, let alone, to make any orders on them," observed the Judge.

The Judge further said there were also evidence of deposits of large cheques and drawings in favour of Sonal, banking and collecting the proceeds thereof in the name of the company.

He said that should the acts of the two Chandaria's continue leading to the winding up of the company on the ground of debts, the loss suffered may not be amenable to compensation by damages. The court granted the temporary injunction stopping the two from conducting the affairs of the company although he said the order will not extend to the bank.

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