The giant gaming firm in Kenya, SportPesa, has reassured sports lovers and teams in Kenya that it would continue sponsoring sporting activities in Kenya despite the ongoing dispute between it and the government.
The government, through the Betting Control and Licensing Board (BCLB), failed to renew the operational permits for SportPesa for allegedly failing to remit taxes to Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) as required by law.
Speaking before the Senate Justice and Legal Affairs Committee, the CEO for SportPesa, Mr. Ronald Karauri, said despite the stalemate between the firm and the government, the firm will not stop supporting Kenyan teams.
“I am a lover of sports and I will continue sponsoring Gor Mahia and AFC Leopards for as long as I am able,” said Mr. Karauri.
SportPesa is one of the biggest investors in the sports sector in Kenya. The firm has been a major sponsor of the two biggest football clubs in Kenya; Gor Mahia and AFC Leopards. It is also the lead sponsor of Kenya Premier League (KPL).
Senators led by Senator for Makueni, Mutula Kilonzo Junior, faulted the government for ignoring court orders and frustrating genuine businesses.
“I refuse a country where the law is used to suffocate honest businesses,” said Mr. Mutula Kilonzo.
At the beginning of the month of July, the Ministry of Interior, in conjunction with Betting Control and Licensing Board (BCLB) refused to renew operational licenses for 27 betting firms accusing them of failing to pay taxes.
Of the 27 betting firms whose licenses had been suspended, BCLB let 10 of them off the hook but refused to renew for SportPesa and 16 others insisting they have to follow the law.
Kenyans have, however, been questioning the intention of Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) given that it had awarded SportPesa three years in a row as the best taxpayer in the country.