Did a New Zealand-born former billionaire act unethically in Kenya?
A New Zealand news site, Stuff.co.nz, originally published this claim but soon made a hasty retreat when it retracted an article suggesting Stephen Jennings left his Russian investment firm Renaissance Captial in 2012 and African company Renaissance Group in 2013, according to Reuters, acted wrongly and wanted to “destroy” a competitor.
In its retraction, Stuff confessed its original article “may have been interpreted as implying that Mr Jennings’ business activities in those countries were unethical and open to criticism.”
“It also implied that Mr Jennings was a business rival to Bill Browder, a well-known American businessman, and wanted to destroy him,” the retraction stated.
Stuff, a New Zealand news site owned by Fairfax New Zealand Ltd., admitted in its retraction that it never contacted Jennings for comment before publishing its story and that its story wasn’t accurate.
“Stuff.co.nz accepts that none of these statements or implications have any factual basis or legitimacy. No attempt was made to contact Mr Jennings prior to publication, and we accept that had we done so, the article would not have contained those statements or implications.”
“We accept that Mr Jennings is a respected and successful figure in the banking and business worlds, and we deeply regret any suggestion to the contrary. Accordingly, we unequivocally retract the factual errors and misleading implications contained in the article, and unreservedly apologise to Mr Jennings for any distress suffered by him and his family as a result.”
The article has since been deleted. A search for Stephen Jennings name and Stuff’s website on Bing produced the March 2 headline “Kiwi Stephen Jennings in fight over $3.5b Kenyan project” The link no longer shows the article. See, below, a screenshot.
The article stated in part, according to the Bing search: “A New Zealander who made billions in chaotic post-Soviet Russia but then fled to Africa will make an unusual public appearance in a Kenyan court tomorrow…”
The website WN.com re-published an excerpt of the article which shows Stuff claimed Jennings is “trying to save his latest multi-billion dollar development” and is “fighting a boardroom coup” over a development. The article further claimed, “Secretive Jennings reckons two Kenyan directors are trying to destroy him.”
iMediaEthics has written to Jennings’ company in Africa, Rendeavour. We’ve also reached out to Stuff.