BY SAM ALFAN.
Nanovas International (k) Limited trading as Betpawa has moved to court seeking temporarily to suspend Betting Control board addressed to Safaricom Limited.
BetPawa through lawyer Immanuel Wetangula wants the court to issue a conservatory order temporarily suspending the board decisions not to renew their bookmaker’s and public gaming licenses for the year 2019/2020 and allowing the Petitioner to continue to carry on the bookmaking and public gaming business without any interference by the board.
“Pending the hearing and determination of the Petition, the court to issue order temporarily suspending the board letter dated July 10 2019 addressed to Safaricom Limited,” reads court papers.
The firm also want to be allowed to continue utilising it’s pay bill numbers and short codes without any interference by the the betting board pending hearing and determination of the case.
The company further wants an order suspending the board’s decisions not to renew the Betpawa bookmaker’s and public gaming licenses for the year 2019/2020 and allowing the Petitioner to continue to carry on the bookmaking and public gaming business without any interference by the Respondent, its agents, servants or anybody directed to act on its behalf.
They argue that by a letter dated July 10 2019, the betting Control Board wrote to Safaricom Limited requesting for the suspension of the pay bill numbers and short codes for several companies, including Betpawa.
Betpawa adds that Betting Control Board action was carried out without any prior notification, involvement or participation of the Petitioner who stood to be directly and adversely affected by it, in breach of its constitutional rights to among others, fair administrative action and property”, says the company.
“Prior to the abovementioned action, the Respondent wrote to the Petitioner on 1st July 2019 and rejected its application for the renewal of its bookmaker’s license, ostensibly on the basis that there were pending investigations into the Petitioner’s regulatory and license compliance”, adds BetPawa.
The betting company say that in spite of lodging its application for renewal of the license and responding to the board’s inquiries for further information in sufficient time before its expiry on 30th June 2019, the Respondent awaited its expiry before communicating the rejection of the Petitioner’s application.
“In accordance with Article 35 of the Constitution and the provisions of the Fair Administrative Action Act, the Petitioner wrote to the Respondent on 2nd July 2019 requesting for reasons, including the particulars of the purported investigations, since it had complied with all of the Respondent’s requests for further information during the process of applying for the renewal of its license. The Respondent did not respond to the Petitioner’s request”, claim the company.
They say that they were therefore taken aback to subsequently learn of the Respondent’s letter to Safaricom Limited, still citing alleged, ongoing due diligence to determine fitness and propriety to hold a license.
According to the board’s own constitutive statute: the Betting, Lotteries and Gaming Act, specifically section 5A(3), the Respondent is required to afford the Petitioner a right to be heard in determining its fitness and propriety to hold a license.
However, the betting board has not invited representations from the Petitioner but has chosen to ignore it in carrying out its actions.
They also claim the board rejected their application for the renewal of its public gaming license, ostensibly on the basis that it required a physical gaming premise, in spite of the Petitioner having provided the physical address for its operations in its license renewal application.
The company Business Manager Cynthia Onyango said on July 30, 2018, the betting control board issued a bookmaker’s off-the-course license to BetPawa which would expire on June 30, 2019 and also issued a public gaming license to the company on September 21, 2018 which would also expire on 30th June 2019.
“Through letters dated 6 and14 March 2019, the Petitioner (Nanovas International (k) Limited trading as betpawa) made two applications to the Respondent for the renewal of its bookmaker’s off-the-course and public gaming licenses. Both applications annexed several documents and also sought the Respondent’s (Betting Control Board) advice on any pending items required to complete the process of license renewal”, claim the manager.
She adds that On April 10, 15 and 172019, the betting control board wrote to BetPawa acknowledging receipt of the applications for renewal of the bookmaker’s and public gaming licenses for the year 2019/2020 and requesting for further documentation.
She said the company on 23,April 2019, wrote to the board attaching its returns, copies of payment slips, bank receipts for January to March 2019 as evidence of tax payments. The Petitioner also sought to know whether there were further requirements.