Little known Microfinance Bank Sumac Microfinance Bank says on its YouTube channel that, ‘within the last 5 years, it has grown from an asset base of Sh600 million to Sh2 billion’, the voice over from the video adds, ‘the best is yet to come’.
But just how did a chama started in 2002 from only Sh500,000 grow to be a big Microfinance in Kenya?
Well, the bank started as an idea between Mr Kibathi Njoroge, who is the chairman and a few of his friends. They had suffered retrenchment from their jobs in around 1999/2000.
The true question to ask is how did it within five years grow from a Sh600 million asset base to Sh2 billion even as more banks were shutting down. It is easier to explain reaching Sh1 billion, but the story of the next Sh1 billion is what is curious.
‘Benefactor’ Ricardo Badoer
Swedish businessman and the owner of Wazito FC Ricardo Badoer has been described as a no-nonsense guy with great business acumen.
Apart from his easy use of expletives, Ricardo has paid the Kenyan media to sanitize his image. And in a country that has seen the exploits of drug barons such as the Artur brothers, many a youth look up to such as these as inspiration and a way to escape poverty.
Ricardo, to start with, has registered most of his firms in Panama. This is the first indication that things are not as they look.
Panama, and other offshore countries such as Mauritius and British Virgin Islands even Jersey Islands and Switzerland are known as places where the unscrupulous and thieves hide their loot.
Well, in Kenya, the businessman recently acquired interests in Sumac Microfinance. Ricardo took his place in the Sumac Microfinance Bank as a director and board member after acquiring shares.
He joined board members John Kibatha Njoroge (chairman), Duncan Mwaniki, Mbugua Muiruri, Rufus Maina Kanyogo, Stephen Chege and John Mucai.
Sumac has six branches mostly concentrated in the Central Region of Kenya.
Sumac which began as an investment club in 2002, received a Central Bank of Kenya deposit-taking license in 2012.
At the end of 2016, it was ranked fifth in the microfinance banking sector with a market share of 1.3pc. There is concern he wants to use Sumac, swindle depositors and take off.
Ricardo Badoer makes that fear more real. How did the bank accept money from a shadowy guy, a man who fears going back to his country, Sweden. A man who lives mostly in Dubai, a man who abuses everybody and seems like one who no one wants to cross his way. This is how drug dealers behave.
And there have been allegations that Ricardo or ‘RB” as he is known in the underworld might be a user of heavy drugs.
Ricardo’s business associates are also questionable. For example, he has ties with the looter of National Bank of Kenya (NBK), Solomon Alubala.
Alubala, who is a former NBK head of treasury is being investigated over Sh1 billion scandal at the bank and has had his properties frozen by authorities.
Detectives from the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) and Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) are on his trail. In fact both of them are under the radar of Banking Fraud Unit.
Kenya security system have raised concern over multi-million drug business and illicit arms found among public university students and even in hostels. International drug dealers have found haven in universities where they easily hide them while on transit.
Is this where the money came from? Is this how SUMAC says it has grown from Sh600 million to Sh2 billion within five years?
Badoer has been quoted saying that he made his first million at the tender age of 20 when he started his first business after working as a property agent in Spain. In just one year working as a property agent, he claims he made enough money to buy a rundown house which he renovated then sold for a handsome profit. That led to the creation of Badoer Investment Ltd. Problem is, this story doesn’t add up and why does he avoid going back to Sweden even on holiday?
DCI and EACC should move with speed to question these guys.
According to sources, Ricardo, as an investment banker, is well-grounded in banking, international finance with over 16 years’ experience and knows all the tricks in the book in money laundering.
He is also well connected across Africa as evidenced by the clearance he got from the Central Bank of Tanzania to allow him make a 23pc ownership in Hakika Microfinance Bank.
He is the founder of a cryptocurrency firm Aidos Kuneen, which is looking to list in different stock exchanges in Africa. The two firms operations have been at centre of discussion and probe in a number of capital cities they operate.
Insiders say Ricardo is now on a buying spree of budding banks, which he says are “cheaper and easier to take over and can be turned into full financial bank later”.
With a background in offshore banking, Ricardo’s idea is to attract international investors into his emerging banking network and thereby help conceal his dirty business.
He has of been channeling huge investments into East Africa in various sectors including sports, manufacturing, media, trade and banking.
“Brown envelop journalists” are paid to sanitise Ricardo’s image, calling him a dollar-billionaire even though no one has ever seen papers to show that he has or how he makes his billions.
Ricardo is also the founder of Badoer Investment Ltd, a company which recently agreed an equity stake with Uganda’s ALTX East Africa Group, a stock exchange firm.
He is also the founder and CEO of MadGoat TV, a YouTube channel that focuses on Kenyans sports.
Ricardo has expanded to his reach to other sporting activities onstansbly to help the youths. But it is the same yiuths that are the worse hit by drug abuse problems.
He signed a Sh100 million sponsorship of local basketball teams. His firm Badoer Investments Ltd is sponsoring the KBF league for the next five years.
Under the Sh100 million deal, Badoer Investments will also own broadcast rights through his newly launched digital television station, Madgoat TV as well as an upcoming free-to-air TV station.
The deal was signed at Nyayo Stadium, where basketball friendlies were taking place between teams from Kenya and Ghana.