A Swedish investor has accused a horticultural produce exporter of refusing to pay him Sh50 million.The mzungu is down with depression.
Guy Mertens, in a police statement, claims Jane Maina, the managing director of Vert Fresh, procured services worth $500,000 (Sh50 million) from his firm, but has refused to pay. He runs Africair Management and Logistics, a freight company. Guy alleges that Jane is instead threatening to have him deported.
In a police statement filed at the Airport Police Station in Nairobi, Guy says he has been doing business with Vert Fresh since 2012 and “from the beginning, Africair Management would ship fresh produce from Nairobi to Amsterdam on credit and Vert Fresh would pay for the services on the 15th and 30th of every month.”
Guy alleges that trouble began in April 2015 when Vert Fresh began delaying payments.
“I started calling and sending texts and emails. Since we were still doing shipments for them, it means they were getting paid, and so, they should pay as per the agreement,” states Guy in his statement.
On May 18, 2015, Guy says he sent an email to Jane regarding the non-payments. Through an email, Jane explained that she was procuring a loan from a European micro-finance fund.
“She requested that we extend the credit because of her commitments and that they would pay Africair Management and Logistics all monies owed once they received financing. We extended the credit on the strength of this commitment. On June 2, 2015, I asked Mrs Maina (Jane) for feedback on the loan (Sh11 million). Africair Management and Logistics was running out of cash and fast losing credibility with its partner airlines who had extended us credit facilities for shipment on behalf of Vert Fresh,” explains Guy in his statement, adding that Jane sent him another email on September 7, 2015 to the effect that she was getting Sh85.8 million.
“I found this strange because new entities were being introduced. The amount in question was also different. I kept my cool and chose to believe her,” says Guy, but by October 13, 2015, emails he sent to Jane went unanswered.
“At this point, Africair Management and Logistics was facing some serious liquidity problems. I noted with concern that one of their clients had been paying Vert Fresh on time, but Vert Fresh had not been paying me for months now.”
On two occasions, Guy asked Jane’s client to pay him directly and Jane agreed to the arrangement. On October 19, 2015, they got paid $50,986 (Sh5 million) and another $52,402 (Sh5.2 million) on November 20, 2015, but thereafter, the company claimed Jane had instructed them to stop the direct payments.
“Since January 2016, Africair Management and Logistics has not received any payment, yet I am personally aware that Vert Fresh got financing and they have continued trading at a higher margin, now, with a different company, yet my company is dying because of the debt they owe me,” says Guy in his statement.
He also lists 13 cheques issued to Africair Management and Logistics by Vert Fresh totaling $481,419.88 (Sh480 million). “I now seek assistance of the police as I believe that Vert Fresh obtained credit from us for services that they did not intend to pay.”