Simba Corp owner denies holding stake in Imperial Bank

Simba Corporation, owned by a scion of the late billionaire businessman Abdul Karim Popat, has distanced itself from the collapsed Imperial Bank, saying it does not own any shares in the troubled lender.

The group, which has interests in the auto and hospitality industries, is owned by Adil Popat who is a brother to the chairman of the distressed Imperial Bank, which was unexpectedly shut down on October 13 with Sh58 billion in customer deposits.

Alnashir Popat, 63, serves as the chairman of Imperial Bank where he has been a director since December 1992 and directly owns a seven per cent stake in the lender.

He cumulatively holds 14 per cent of Imperial Bank through his company Imaran.

“Simba Corp and its directors do not hold any shares at Imperial Bank,” said the group’s executive director Dinesh Kotecha in an interview with the Business Daily.

“There are no related party transactions and no common directorships.”

Mr Kotecha said the motor firm is, in fact, one of the big losers in the Imperial Bank scam having been a depositor with a substantial amount of money in the lender.

He said Simba Corp’s primary bankers are Standard Chartered, Barclays Bank and Citibank.

The deceased family patriarch, Abdul Karim Popat, previously served as chairman of both Simba and Imperial Bank. But upon his death in March, 2013, the family wealth was distributed among his four children.

Imperial Bank’s board jointly jointly controls 38.9 per cent of the lender.

They include Abdulmalek Janmohamed (ex-group MD, now deceased) with five per cent stake, Anwar Hajee (seven per cent), Jinit Shah (2.5 per cent), Mukesh Kumar (6.3 per cent), Vishnu Dhutia (5.5 per cent) and Hanif Mohamed Amirali Somji (5.6 per cent).

Three other directors namely Eric Gitonga Bengi, Omurembe Iyadi and Christopher Diaz do not own any shares at Imperial.

Banking fraud detectives on Saturday grilled the bank’s directors to establish if they were aware of the fraud at the lender.

A forensic audit by Washington DC-based FTI Consulting has revealed that Imperial Bank’s long-serving group managing director Abdulmalek Janmohamed discreetly siphoned S4 billion from the mid-sized lender.

To execute the decade-old scheme, Mr Janmohamed, who died in September, enlisted the services of Imperial Bank’s head of credit Naeem Shah and chief finance officer James Kaburu, documents filed at the High Court show.