Kenyan Businessman Samuel Macharia Shuts Down Company, Lays Off Staff

Kenyan businessman Samuel Macharia, chairman of Royal Credit Limited, has announced the immediate closure of Directline Assurance Company, Kenya’s top motor vehicle insurance provider. The ruling comes after the Insurance Regulatory Authority (IRA) froze the company’s bank accounts.

Macharia blamed the failure on prior directors’ theft of more than Ksh7 billion ($54.1 million), which he believes the IRA failed to address adequately. In a brief statement, Macharia also announced the dismissal of all staff and the dissolution of Directline’s Board of Directors. Royal Credit Limited will assume control of all Directline assets.

Directline Assurance, which entered the market in November 2005, has been a key player in Kenya’s insurance sector, particularly for its motor insurance offers.

For the fiscal year 2022/2023, the company declared a profit of Ksh4.1 billion ($31.6 million), up from Ksh3.6 billion ($27.8 million) the previous year. This expansion was fueled by collaborations with 3,200 agents, 83 brokers, and 17 banks.

Earlier this year, Directline announced ambitious goals to diversify its product offering while generating profits. Under Macharia’s leadership, the business implemented cashless fares in February to decrease false claims connected to passenger injuries and deaths.

Samuel Macharia, one of Kenya’s wealthiest individuals, is a major shareholder in Directline Assurance, an important insurer in Kenya and the wider East Africa region.

He is also the founder and chairman of Royal Media Services, East Africa’s largest private radio and television network, which includes Citizen TV and Radio Citizen, solidifying his position in Kenya’s media scene.

In 2021, Kenya’s Director of Public Prosecutions, Noordin Haji, petitioned to dismiss Macharia’s court action against 14 Directline directors for the alleged unlawful transfer of shares and cash totaling Ksh4 billion ($36.3 million).

This petition exposed Directline Assurance’s ownership fight, with Macharia and the IRA disclosing conflicting ownership data.

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