The Star (Nairobi)

23 July 2014

Kenya: Ketan Somaia Jailed Eight Years for Fraud By a British Court

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Controversial businessman Ketan Somaia has been sentenced to an eight-year jail term by a British court for nine counts of obtaining money by deception.

Somai, 52, was convicted of extracting a total of Sh2.3 billion from businessman Murli Mirchandani and Dilip Shah between June 1999 and May 2000 after promising high returns.

According to a Daily Mail report, the court heard how Somaia who lived in Bayswater West London, but owned a palatial house in the exclusive North London suburb of Hadley Wood and an office in Mayfair, wooed Mirchandani with all expenses paid trips to Dubai, South Africa and other top holiday destinations and vintage Dom Perignon champagne while fleecing him of the money with promise of high returns on investments.

The presiding judge Richard Hone while delivering the sentence termed Somaia as "fundamentally dishonest" in his dealings with Murli Mirchandani who instituted private prosecution against Somaia in 2011.

"But for your admitted ill health I would have had no hesitation in passing a sentence of ten years imprisonment. However I think some allowance should be made though in my judgement you are your own worst enemy in that respect," Hone said.

Somaia took loans of between Sh7.6 million and Sh668 million from Mirchandani and Sh17.5 million from Shah, the court heard. The total sum - 19.7 million US dollars (Sh1.7 billion) - amounted to £13.5 million at the exchange rates from the time, Hone said.

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