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Bluebird Aviation co-founder has filed a criminal complaint against other shareholders

Tuesday April 16, 2019

The vicious boardroom wars that have threatened to stall operations of charter airline Bluebird Aviation has now sucked in the Director of Criminal Investigations (DCI).

Bluebird Aviation co-founder Yussuf Adan has filed a criminal complaint against other shareholders of the airline, accusing them of fraudulently channelling massive funds out of the company as part of a money laundering scheme.

He wants the DCI to probe the three shareholders and executives — Hussein Farah, Unshur Mohamed and Mohamed Abdikadir — for fraudulent accounting, tax evasion, fraud and money laundering.

The tycoons have in the past three years been locked in a bitter court fight over control of Bluebird — one of Kenya’s largest chartered flight operators with a fleet of more than 21 airplanes.

He argues that more $1 billion (about Sh100 billion) has been siphoned from the airline in its 27 years of operation.

Most of the money in the clandestine Bluebird records, he claims, is kept in cash in offshore accounts while some is invested in stocks, land and real estate in countries like Mauritius, South Africa, Somali, UAE, Dubai, USA, Canada and Britain.

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Mr Adan now wants the DCI to use the accusations made in the civil suit to investigate the three co-founders, escalating the shareholder row.

“I am making a criminal complaint in respect of the many abuses and many wrongs committed by the other co-directors of Bluebird Aviation,” said Mr Yussuf in a complaint filed at the DCI registry on March 8.

Yesterday, a source at the DCI said the matter is under investigation with their focus being tax evasion, money laundering, and theft by directors.

Documents filed at the Milimani High Court claim that Mr Farah, Mr Mohamed and Mr Abdikadir have been running two separate books of accounts — the official one, which constitutes only five per cent of the firm’s true income, and a clandestine one which is used to hide profits made from both the government and Mr Yussuf.

He reckons the company should have reported a profit in 2017 and not the quoted loss, leading to tax evasion.

Mr Adan has filed a court petition seeking to wind up Bluebird, claiming that the other three directors have never involved him in any of the company’s affairs.

Mr Yussuf has asked the DCI to investigate claims that part of the cash in offshore accounts is transported physically out of the country without declaration.

“Apart from totally excluding Mr Yussuf from the affairs of the company, the other three directors have never shared with him any financial details of the company,” the court documents say.

The three directors allegedly tried to buy out Mr Yussuf’s stake in the company for $30 million (Sh3 billion) when he confronted them over the scheme.

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