Kenyans who bought shares in the recent Safaricom Initial Public Offer (IPO) are disposing off their shares from the Nairobi Stock Exchange following the recent public outcry on Finance minister Amos Kimunya. Kimunya who played a key role in the IPO has been accused of selling a public owned Hotel Grand Regency in controversial circumstances.
Safaricom is one of Kenya’s most profitable firms and recently launched the IPO in which the Kenyan government offloaded 25% per cent of its shares in the leading telecommunications company. The IPO was oversubscribed by 532% and the Government earned Ksh 50 billion (US$ 300 Million) from the offer.
The Kenyan public now owns 25% while foreign investors 15% of shares in the Mobile telephone service provider which controls 80% of the mobile telephone market in Kenya. Safaricom boasts of 10 million subscribers in the mobile telephone market.
But indications at the Nairobi stock exchange shows that more than 500 members of the public are selling off their shares after Kimunya was named and accused of corruption. Many of those interviewed feared that Kimunya might have launched the Saricom IPO will ill motives hence duping the public to buy the shares. Calls for Kimunya’s resignation continue amid conspicuous silence from the president Mwai Kibaki who is said to be Kimunya’s close friend
The withdrawal by many Kenyans in the shareholding of Safaricom will indeed do great blow to the Nairobi Stock Exchange believed to be one of the best Bourse in Africa. “Business is not good here as of now since many people are withdrawing their shares”, mr Joseph Ngugi who works at the bourse said.
By Ken Chelimo
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