Kibaki’s re-election resources

President Mwai Kibaki is a discreet businessman who, though fabulously wealthy, shuns owner-manager kind of business operations where the owner’s hand becomes obvious and visible, much like his predecessor Daniel arap Moi.

He is unlike Raila Odinga, his main challenger for the presidency in the forthcoming elections. With Raila, his or the Odinga wealth is easily identifiable thanks to the more flamboyant and outgoing nature of the Odingas.

The Odinga family, for instance, has the highly visible flagship investments such as the Kisumu Molasses Plant and the gas cylinder manufacturing firm, the East Africa Spectre.

In sharp contrast, everything is very low key with Kibaki. The only fairly known Kibaki family company is perhaps Lucia & Company Ltd which used to operate from Finance House where Kibaki had a private office before he became president.

Lucia & Company has since moved its office to the more prestigious Bishop’s Gardens building in the Kilimani suburbs. This is where members of Kibaki’s immediate family, daughter Judy Kibaki, sons Jimmy, Tony, David and Kagai regularly operate from either manning some family concerns or minding their own private interests.

The Kibaki family is also said to have a direct substantial interest in the prestigious and successful cloth store Deacons. Among other investments where Kibaki is said to have interests include Silver Springs Hotel in the outskirts of Nairobi and Green Hills Hotel in Nyeri.

In earlier years Kibaki was in partnership with Njenga Karume in tourism business via the now collapsed United Touring Company (UTC) which in the 80s was one of the largest and most successful tour operators in the country. Through UTC the two had an interest in Nyali Beach Hotel in Mombasa but it is not clear what became of these interests following the collapse of UTC and subsequent legal battles between Karume and buccaneer businessman Ketan Somaia.

Financial analyst concede that it is hard to estimate Presdient Kibaki’s actual net worth “because the man operates through a series of investment companies and other special purpose investment vehicles”, as one seasoned stock broker told The Leader in an interview last week. The broker had previously handled some accounts associated with investment companies Kibaki had an interest in.

Besides operating under the cover of investing companies, Kibaki also prefers having his investments held in trust through holding companies, which again throw a smokescreen for anyone trying to pry on what he owns and where it is situated.

Perhaps it is because of his professional orientations as an economist where he learnt the art of discretion in matters of money. The shroud of secrecy could also be possibly be attributed to his nature as a man who keeps his private life as confidential as possible.

Whichever the case, president Kibaki is an immensely wealthy man with substantial investments in some of the most profitable companies in the country today.

Financial analysts estimate that the Kibaki family through shares held via investment and holding companies which in turn own shares in blue chip companies at the Nairobi Stock Exchange (NSE) could be controlling an investment empire worth s much as Shs 2 billion.

Besides investing at the NSE, the Kibakis are also big in farming, owning huge farms in several parts of the country.

Among the farms that Kibaki owns include one in Nakuru, a ranch in Naro Moru area near Nanyuki, farming interests via a holding company in Mweiga where businessman Naushad Merali too has an interest, besides property in his rural home in Othaya.

Kibaki is also the best exemplification of the adage “business knows no political enemies” for he is in business with some personalities who are clearly his sworn political enemies.

Of business and strange bedfellows

Official records show that Kibaki, for the first time, teamed up with the likes of former President Daniel arap Moi, former powerful Attorney General Charles Njonjo and motley of other big players of the 70s and 80s towards the end of Mzee Jomo Kenyatta’s regime.

Teaming up in what was like a roll call of who-was-who at the time, Kibaki and co,. formed an investment company which they named Heri Limited and went on a business shopping spree.

First stop was at DT Dobie Limited, the franchise holder of the prestigious Mercedes Benz cars. Here Heri Limited acquired a 40 per cent shareholding. Years later, Heri ltd was to sell its shareholding to Mrs D T Dobie, the wife of the creator of the company at hundreds of millions. In 2000, after holding onto the shares she had acquired from Heri Ltd for about a year, Mrs Dobie sold her majority shareholding to the French firm CFAO making a clean Shs 587 million in the deal.

Heri Ltd also invested heavily in property with its flagship properties being such prestigious Nairobi landmarks as Norfolk Towers, College House and Kolobot Gardens. The company also invested heavily in quoted securities at the Nairobi Stock Exchange (NSE) and was for many years among the top 20 shareholders of ICDC Investments, nation Media Group, Jacaranda Hotel, Standard Chartered Bank, Lonrho Motors East Africa, Housing Finance Company and the Barclays Bank.

Heri also invested in lesser known companies such as Clarkson & Soutehrn Ltd, Taisho Monarch Insurance Company.

In commercial and real estate sector, the company owned substantial shares in Housing Finance Company (324,250 shares), Barclays Bank (352,764 shares), ICDC Investments (158,490 shares) and Standard Chartered Bank (697,837 shares).

Besides having shares in Heri Ltd – which essentially gives him a substantial take in all companies that Heri had invested in – president Mwai Kibaki also has an interest in International House Limited, the company associated with businessman Chris Kirubi and the one that owns the prestigious International House.

In addition to Kibaki, other listed shareholders or directors of International House limited in the company’s annual returns for 2003 were Kiruma iNternational (a company in which Kirunbi has substantial interests), Barclay Trust Kenya, Roirie Ltd and Mr Chris Kirubi.

Even when Kibaki fell out with Moi, Njonjo, Kenneth Matiba or even Njenga Karume, their business links remained intact perhaps sustained by the fact that they operated mainly through investment companies. This arrangement meant that they did not have to meet in order to transact business since the firms were run by hired professionals and all that the shareholders did was to wait for their dividend cheque every quarter or so.

Other discreet operators in Kibaki league

Apparently in the days Kibaki made his money, the operative word in business circles was discreet. At about the same time the man who would be president made his bundle, his contemporaries too, made a good account of themselves. Their vehicle was an outfit by the name African Liaison & Consultants Services Limited (ALCS).

Although the two companies – Heri Ltd (Kibaki outfit) and African Liaison & Consultants Ltd – had some common directors and shareholders cut throat competition existed between the two with each trying to outdo each other when it came to clinching lucrative investment deals. Whereas in the case of Heri Ltd the company’s creators came to the fore immediately on its formation, this was not the case with African Liaison where the shareholders initially stayed behind the mask of a legal firm.

In the initial documents, African Liaison shareholders were lawyers Francis Addley and Amos Wako, both then working with Kaplan & Stratton Advocates. The company’s secretary was listed as Linda I. Lee. Somewhere along the early days of African Liaison Company, Wako ceased being a director and his place was taken by a colleague at Kaplan & Stratton, Leslie Keith Savage.

The two Kaplan & Stratton lawyers continued as directors of the company until Novemebr 1977 when they both resigned and the real owners of the company came to the fore.

Dropping the mask

As 1977 came to a close, the forces behing African Liaison Ltd decided to drop their masks. Thus Julius Gecau, then managing director of the Kenya Power & Lighting Company, Ben Gethi, then commissioner of police, James Kanyotu, then director of Special Branch and the late Bruce McKenzie, then minister for Agriculture were officially listed as directors of African Liaison & Consultants Services Ltd.

However, before the company could really take off, Bruce McKenzie, one of the primne movers in African Liaison, died on May 24, 1978 in an aircraft accident en route from Uganda. Like other mysterious deaths of many politicians, the circumstances surrounding McKenzie death has never been fully explained.

His place in the board of African Liaison was taken in January of the following year by a new player Prahland Kalyanji Jani (who was better known as PK Jani in corporate circles)/ he has since died. After Jani, came in Jeremiah Kiereini as a director.

By 1980, the company was doing very well and was quietly investing in key companies in the economy. Subsequently, an annual general meeting held decided to increase the company’s share capital from one million shillings to Kshs 2.25 million. With the introduction of new shares came in more shareholders and directors.

Trogon Ltd, Coopers & Lybrand Trust Corporation, Feneast Nominees, Thuthuma, Nebanga and Kawakanja ltd took 12,500 each while Tarakuet Ltd had 7,500 shares. Behind the corporate mask at Coopers & Lybrands was Addley, Feneast Nominees (Charles Njonjo), Kawakanja (Kanyotu), Kingsway nominees (Jeremiah Kiereini), Nebanga Company (Ben Gethi), Thuthuma holdings (Gecau) and in Trogon was PK Jani.

Today African Liaison is among the major shareholders in such public quoted companies as CFC Bank, Barclays Bank of Kenya, CMC Holdings as well as Heritage Insurance Company.

Heri Ltd and African Liaison Ltd are not only among the oldest investment holding companies but also two of the firms with most highly connected shareholders. The few millions originators of the two firms invested some 30 or so years ago have multiplied in geometric proportions putting shareholders of the two firms in the billionaires club. Sources well versed in investment matters say that none of the companies was started with more than Kshs 5 million seed money.

Key shareholders of Heri Ltd at its inception


Number of shares held

Kingsway Nominees


Julius Gecau (former CEO of KPLC)


Charles Njonjo (Former AG)


Philip Ndegwa (the late former CBK Governor)


GK Kariithi (former Head of Public Service)


DR Njoroge Mungai (former powerful cabinet minister)


Heny Kinyua (former MD of KPCU)


Jeremiah Nyaga (former cabinet minister)


Duncan Ndegwa (former CBK governor)


Richard Kemoli (business executive with close links with former President Moi)


Dr Gikonyo Kiano (late former cabinet minister)


Njenga Karume (Kibaki’s defence minister)


Hohn Kotut Koitie (prominent business man)


John Michuki (Internal security minister)


Coopers & Lybrand (audit firm possibly acting as nominees)


Kyale Mwendwa (former cabinet minister)


Mwai Kibaki


Nick Mugwandia Muriuki (business executive)


Githui Kariithi Ihiga (former commissioner of income tax)


Kenneth Matiba (former cabinet minister)


Sam Waruhiu (lawyer and business man)


GG Kariuki (former powerful minister now an MP)


Matu Wamae (former MP)


David Kamau (prominent businessman)


James Mugo (former envoy and husband to MP Beth Mugo)


Source: The Leader Newspaper (Mwenda Njoka)

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3 Responses to Kibaki’s re-election resources

Charlie said...

I like your expose style. Just landed on your site today, but concerned that their are no comments & insults Kenyan style. I, being a in Kenya, regular Internet user (well, at least 15 hours a day) on Kenyan sites/blogs, am worried, am I the only one reading or there is something very wrong with what you are saying?

All the same, someone was scared enough to fix the streets lights around Kile/Riverside in the last 2 months (after 20 years of darkness), aside from attribution issues, keep it up. Only Kenya will benefit from increased political competition.

Anonymous said...

2012 Kenya Dream-Team

Some people might think that 2012 is quite far but as the saying goes, Rome was not built in a day so I’m proposing a forum where we could start a “Kenya Dream-Team” campaign by first nominating 10 relatively reputable Kenyans and then we could slowly market the team in the next 5 years and hopeful when 2012 arrives, we would have a strong team that would change the way politics is currently run by the privileged few.

I know this sounds like a far-fetched idea and quite frankly it is, but as the Chinese proverb goes, a journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step so I do strongly believe that is truly feasible and we could make turn this far-fetched dream into reality!

Once we locked-in on the Dream-Team, we could start working out the logistics of raising campaign funds. This could be a simple campaign like soliciting Ksh.100 donations from 5 million Kenyans (5,000,000 * 100 = Ksh. 500,000,000 (half a billion Kenya shillings)) since it is an open secret that money does play a huge role in any political battle.

Here are my first 3 nominees:
1. Mutavi Musyimi
2. Raphael Tuju
3. PLO Lumumba

Anonymous said...

2012 Dream Team

I like the Dream team idea.

1.Titus Naikuni.
2.Louis Otieno
3.Kilemi Mwiria
4.Njoki Ndungu
5.Taib Ali Taib.

If you are able to dig more on the safaricom shareholders.