Sportpesa CEO Ronald Karauri has opined that President Uhuru Kenyatta might have been sabotaged on the issue of sports betting tax in Kenya.
Speaking to MC Jessy on Jessy Junction YouTube channel, Karauri said the president is a nice guy whom he fell in love with when they met some years back.
Asked if he would accept a job offer from Uhuru, Karauri recalled his encounter with the President saying he met him when Sportpesa was in talks with the Kenya Rugby Union to sponsor the Kenya Sevens rugby team.
“I think Uhuru is a really nice guy…I met him once when we were in talks to sponsor Kenya 7s… then they won the 7s circuit and went to meet the President and they invited me to join them…I fell in love with Uhuru because the guy was so natural and nice with these young people and we sat there mpaka late, he entertained those young guys even ukiuliza hao wasee wa Rugby walikuwa hapo hiyo siku wanampenda sana,” said Karauri.
Adding: I still have hope that whatever is happening he is being sabotaged…this my personal opinion… If I had a chance to seat with him I think we can be very good friends. But maybe hiyo chance might never arrive.”
The former Kenya Airways pilot, whose wife is also a pilot, said he hopes that the betting tax stalemate will be resolved and Sportpesa can resume operations in Kenya.
“Initially it was a tax issue. There are procedures in tax that we followed but we were stopped even before we could conclude the procedures as per the Tax Procedures Act. The Tribunal ruled in our favour that we did not owe any of those taxes and KRA appealed so we are waiting for the court of Appeal. Where we go from there, let’s wait and see,” Karauri said.
He also noted that a lot of people have been asking when Sportpesa will resume operations.
“Everybody asks me, ‘Mnarudi lini?’… What I want people to understand is that it is currently not our choice. Sio ati ni mimi nimekataa kurudi. Our licence applications have gone in, they have been in for a long time. We have reapplied again and we have never been told the reason why we didn’t get the license,” he explained.
Karauri, however, noted that he is a hopeful guy. “Our licence application is in again and I’m hoping we’ll get the licence and continue.”
“Let’s wait for the Betting Control Board to decide when to give us a licence or a reason why they don’t want to give us.”