Hope for Sportpesa employees as company suspends decision to fire

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SportPesa CEO Ronald Karauri

Betting company Sportpesa has recalled letters notifying its 400 employees in the Kenyan office of an intention to terminate employment.

Pulse Live Kenya established that the company's management had on Thursday afternoon written all its former staff announcing it had withdrawn letters terminating their employment from the Kenyan subsidiary.

The employees were called for a meeting on Friday morning when they will be advised on the way forward. It was not clear if the decision to shut down operations in the country was being reconsidered.

The betting firm had last month announced it was shutting down operations in Kenya and letting go its 400-member staff. It cited the tax measures as increasingly hostile to their business.

"Sportpesa is disappointed with the decision by the Kenyan legislature to impose a 20% excise tax on all betting stakes. The tax is based on a fundamental misunderstanding by the Rotich led treasury of how revenue generation works in the bookmaker industry. Until such time that adequate taxation and non-hostile regulatory environment is returned, the SportPesa brand will halt operations in Kenya," Sportpesa CEO Ronald Karauri said in September.

The company's betting site was pulled down shortly after Karauri told employees that the company would no longer operate in Kenya.

There have been public criticism from a section of citizens and political leaders who were disappointed with the firing of over 400 members of staff at a time when employers are retrenching in droves.

The company's subsidiaries in Tanzania and the United Kingdom have continued to operate despite the closure of the Kenyan office.

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