Mr Michael Joseph. PHOTO | SALATON NJAU | NMG Safaricom’s #ticker:SCOM founding chief executive, Michael Joseph, has revealed that he sold off his entire shareholding in the company to fund the construction of his retirement home.
Earlier regulatory filings showed that Mr Joseph — who currently serves at the interim CEO of Safaricom following the death of Bob Collymore last year — sold his entire stock in the giant telecommunications firm in the course of its fiscal year to March 2019.
Disclosures in the company’s annual report showed that Mr Joseph owned 1.17 million shares in the telco as at March 31, 2018, but had sold all of them by the end of the financial year.
The move raised speculation over Mr Joseph’s future ties with Safaricom — a company he has been credited for moulding from a department of a former State corporation into East Africa’s most profitable company, impacting on the lives of millions of people through telecommunication and money transfer services.
Mr Joseph, however, told the Business Daily that he offloaded his shares to fund the construction of his retirement home.
“When you invest in a company like I did with Safaricom you invest for a reason,” Mr Joseph said. “You invest at some point because you want to invest. When you take the money out you want to spend on something. In my semi-retirement I am building a house and I needed the funds”.
He did not immediately reveal where he is building the home.
Mr Joseph already owns a home in the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy in northern Kenya. Formed in 1995, the Lewa conservancy is a wildlife sanctuary covering over 62,000 acres that is home to a wide variety of wildlife, including the rare and endangered black rhinos.
Mr Joseph secured Kenyan citizenship in 2014, joining a long list of expatriates and diplomats who opt to live in Nairobi after their tour of duty. He took advantage of the 2010 Constitution that allowed Kenyans to hold dual citizenship, which means he does not have to denounce his US nationality.
Going by the prevailing Safaricom share price of Sh27 around the time he offloaded his shares, Mr Joseph’s shareholding was worth well over Sh31 million. Safaricom’s share price closed at Sh32 on Thursday.“If I could keep (my shares) there, I could keep them there. I could keep them for sure. It has nothing to do with Safaricom,” he said on the […]