Billionaire educationist and founder of the Makini Group of Schools, Lady Elizabeth Mary Okelo, is the latest Awori to once again thrust the family’s prestigious name into the corridors of Court. This comes barely months after another of Canon Awori’s daughters, Grace Wakhungu, embarrassed the Awori empire by getting convicted of corruption charges alongside self-confessed fraudster, Walukhe.
However, unlike her sister who was a defendant standing in the dock, Lady Elizabeth is the petitioner who is preferring charges against a litigant.
After the wealthy businesswoman sold Makini for what has been rumoured to be an amount in the north of 10 million dollars, she was on the lookout for a good deal when she was introduced to a young Chinese man by the name Jia Dian. Mr. Dian introduced himself as a representative of Longliqi Global Holdings, a multinational that manufactures natural health supplements in China. The 32-year-old businessman convinced Dr Okelo that she could make good returns from an investment with Longliqi.Dr Okelo was impressed upon to buy Longliqi products from the manufacturer, then resell them to the public.Longliqi manufactures products such as sod milk, white tea toothpaste, breath freshener, charcoal soap and others that are marketed as natural health products.
The company, just like GNLD and Tianshi, which are popular Chinese companies in Kenya, uses the ripple effect style to sell their produce. Here, the company only rewards the first circle of salespersons who will successfully market their product, and recruit other marketers. From there, those convinced and recruited to sell these products by the initial salespersons will, in turn, depend upon the others that they convince to sell the products, to get money to be paid. While this arrangement isn’t illegal, it carries bitter memories of pyramid schemes for many. Mr. Dian convinced Lady Elizabeth to become an exclusive distributor of Longliqi products in Uganda and Rwanda. She was assured that her purchase would realise a 10 percent profit, and that anyone looking to purchase Longliqi products for resale in those two countries would have to buy from her. Nevertheless, the catch was that she had to invest at least 100, 000 dollars in each territory beforehand. Lady Elizabeth wired $115,198 (Sh12.5 million) to Longliqi’s account at Shanghai Pudong Development Bank on October 8, 2018 for the exclusive Uganda distributorship deal.She also wired $125,541 (Sh13.7 million) to the same bank account on the same day in respect of the Rwanda deal. However, she claims that since then, not only has Dian not delivered the supplies, but she has also found out that there are other suppliers.
Dian has refuted the claims, arguing that not only were the supplies delivered, but the petitioner has been receiving her due commissions. Justice David Majanja had on December 1 delivered a summary judgment in Dr Okelo’s favour.A day after, Longliqi and Mr Dian filed an application seeking to have the judge rescind his decision and allow them to file a defence.On December 18, Justice Majanja agreed to rescind the judgment on condition the defendants would each pay Sh15,000 in legal costs to Dr Okelo within 14 days.