Britam of Kenya Says It’s Separate From Suspended Mauritian Bank

British-American Investment Co., the Kenyan money manager known as Britam, said that while it has directors in common with financial companies subject to measures imposed by Mauritian authorities, it is an independent legal entity.

Britam said in a statement on Tuesday it was responding to enquires about its relationship with lender Bramer Banking Corp. and insurer BAI Co. after the Mauritian central bank revoked Bramer’s banking license and the Indian Ocean island nation’s Financial Services Commission appointed PricewaterhouseCoopers conservators of BAI.

Britam’s 23.34 percent shareholder, British-American (Kenya) Holdings Ltd., is related to BAI, Kenya’s largest publicly traded money manager said in the statement. Bramer isn’t a shareholder of Britam, it said. While there are common directorships between Britam, BAI and Bramer, “Britam is managed through an independent board of directors and management,” it said. There is no other relationship between Britam and BAI or Bramer, it said.

Britam stock was unchanged at 26 shillings by Tuesday’s close in Nairobi.

Trading in Bramer Banking was suspended by Mauritius’s stock exchange after the country’s central bank revoked the company’s banking license. Dealings in the securities will be halted until further notice, according to a statement on the website of the Stock Exchange of Mauritius on April 3.

The Bank of Mauritius withdrew Bramer’s license “in the public interest,” it said in a statement a day earlier.

Special Desk

The central bank revoked Bramer’s license “following strong evidence that BBCL is engaged in a Ponzi scheme which exceeds 25 billion rupees” ($690 million), Prime Minister Anerood Jugnauth told reporters in Port Louis, the capital, on April 3. A special desk will be set up in the Bank of Mauritius to give Bramer clients information on their deposits and an investigation is underway into what he called an “unprecedented financial scandal.”

The central bank told Bramer about a “number of significant deficiencies” that it found during an on-site examination between Jan. 22 and Feb. 20, it said in the statement. Bramer had “large withdrawals of deposits” that affected its liquidity and capital, the regulator said.

The Financial Services Commission of Mauritius appointed Andre Bonieux and Mushtaq Oosman of PwC as conservators of BAI “to safeguard the interests of policyholders,” the FSC said in a statement on its website.

Britam wishes “to reassure our investors, customers and the general public that there is no exposure to Britam in relation to the recent developments in Bramer Bank and BAI in Mauritius,” the money manager said in its statement.

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