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Meet the Murang’a billionaires



Businessmen from Murang’a top the list of billionaire investors at the Nairobi Securities Exchange from Central Kenya, cementing a pre-colonial trend when the area residents took to business with gusto.

New statistics indicate that the five top investors at the stock market from Murang’a control at least Sh50billion of their declared shares value, which is more when the undeclared shares they own are factored in, in a show of business acumen started by their fathers in early 1900.

It is in Murang’a where in 1920s, residents first embraced planting of wattle trees, which eventually became a cash crop in Kikuyu land until 1950s.

The tree was a hotcake in local and international markets.It was not only raw material for tanning extracts used variously in industrial production but also important in fencing, construction, as medicine and according to the United Nations, helped address afforestation in Central Kenya.

The wattle tree industry is credited with introducing the Kikuyu to the international cash economy and is a precursor of the formation of farming cooperative societies like the Murang’a Wattle Growers and Sellers Association, Central Province Wattle Growers’ and Producers’ Association, and the Wattle Bark and Native Produce Cooperative Society.

These cooperatives are credited with developing working links with political organizations such as the Kenya African Union (KAU), which not only expanded political space among Africans then but also provided a platform to fundraise for political activities.Indeed, a company owned by Murang’a businessmen, known as the Kenya Fuel and Bark Supplies Company, formed around 1945 bought Kiburi House – which still stands long Kirinyaga Road, that eventually housed the offices of the KAU as well as most of the trade unions which had existed before the Emergency.

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Historians say the feat of buying a building by an African owned company was unheard of at the time.The trend of buying property in Nairobi was to be picked up just before independence, again, by a group of Murang’a businessmen from Rwathia in Kangema, who also worked through a savings cooperative.

Mzee Gerald Gikonyo Kanyuira, 104, the only remaining member of the first generation of Rwathia businessmen told Mt. Kenya Star in an earlier interview that they would collectively save money and entrust it with one of their parents.

When the need to invest arose, one of the group members would be sent home to get the money.

Last year, President Uhuru Kenyatta honoured Mzee Kanyuira with the ‘Key to the City’ for his contribution to the growth of business in Nairobi.Rwathia Investment Group that has employed over 100,000 Kenyans across the country.

They own several buildings and run different businesses in the greater River Road area and other towns like Thika and Murang’a among others.Interestingly, most of the central Kenya billionaires come from the same Rwathia village of Kangema, in Murang’a, succeeding in taking their businesses beyond Nairobi, into other capitals of African countries.

The billionaires

John Kibunga Kimani is one of the most elusive billionaires. Putting a face to one of the fastest growing stock market investors is a challenge as his photo cannot be found in any of the libraries of the mainstream media houses in Kenya despite his one on one interviews with the reporters and of course his contributions at the annual general meetings where his photos would probably be taken.

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Kimani currently owns 30 per cent of Kakuzi Limited. His stake means that the monetary worth in the company Sh1.7 billion. His other declared stake is in Nation Media Group estimated to be worth Sh400 million. He has more investments in the stock exchange


Businessman Chris Kirubi.

Chris Kirubi is a household name in Kenya. His stake in Centum Investments is worth Sh6 billion. This is, however, one of the many of Kirubi’s investments, with the latest addition being the Two Rivers Mall. His business interests extend to banking, farming, manufacturing among others.

Equity Group CEO James Mwangi. [Standard]

James Mwangi, the CEO of Equity Group can rightly be termed as the Grand Master of banking in East Africa. His declared stake in Equity Bank is worth Sh5 billion and another Sh650 million in Britam. Mwangi has many more shares in the stock market. Combined with other business interests, his worth runs in tens of billions of shillings. He is among the Rwathia village generation that took over from their fathers. He has taken Equity Bank beyond Kangema, and Nairobi, to across Africa.With more than 10 million customers in the six African countries, Equity Bank is the largest commercial bank in Africa by customer numbers. Last week, it announced planned entry into Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania and Zambia.

READ ALSO:   Photo of Chris Kirubi looking very frail worries Kenyans

The chairman Occidental Insurance Company Limited Jimnah Mbaru speaking to the Media at the Turf Mall building in Kisumu in 2017. [Phillip Orwa/Standard]

Jimnah Mbaru, another son of Rwathia village is one of the most respected business people in Kenya. His stake in Britam is worth Sh1 billion. Mbaru is a veteran of the stock market and therefore owns many more stakes in different companies.

Recently elected to head the Nairobi chapter of the National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KNCCI), the investment banker is a resource in Kenya’s corporate world through his Dyer & Blair Investment Bank.

Britam Group Managing Director Dr Benson Wairegi. [Elvis Ogina/Standard]

 Benson Wairegi is the Managing Director of Britam also from Rwathia Rwathia. With his stake in Britam worth about Sh900 million, he has other interests at the stock market in companies like Equity Bank and Housing Finance among others.

Dr Peter Munga, the retiring Non-Executive Chairman of Equity Group Holdings. [Wilberforce Okwiri/Standard]

Peter Munga, the retiring Chairman of the Equity Group exits the stage having made history in Kenya’s enterprise sphere. He is the found of the Equity Bank and his stake in the bank is estimated to be worth over a billion shillings. He has other interests in Britam and other firms worth billions of shillings.

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Safaricom achieves 50pc female employees target



Safaricom says it has achieved 50 percent share of female employees on its payroll, coming amid an increase in the number of direct and indirect jobs it sustained in the last financial year growing nine percent to 979,000.

This is according to the telco’s 2019 Sustainable Business Report released on Thursday in which the firm also announced a plan to plant five million trees in the next five years as part of a carbon offset programme.

“We have achieved a 50:50 gender balance among our employees and 34 percent of senior management are women. In addition, 2.1 percent of our staff are persons living with disabilities,” the report notes.

In the year under review, the firm says 178 women-owned businesses were pre-qualified under its Women in Business initiative.

The firm supports 167,083 M-Pesa agents, 433 dealers, 1,138 suppliers, 4,503 permanent employees as well as other stakeholders.

The company had a staff headcount of 6,323 (permanent and contract staff) as at March 2019, an increase from 6,130 in 2018.

The latest Sustainable Business Report also notes that the telco disciplined 78 staff in the last financial year, even as an earlier released annual report had indicated that Safaricom fired 31 employees in the year ended March 2019 over fraud.

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“We consistently review our compliance with regulatory obligations, particularly those surrounding fraud, corruption and anti-money laundering legislation,” the report adds.


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Job Vacancy: Business Manager



We are seeking an experienced Business Manager to lead and oversee the work of employees in our Optiven Construction company.  The eligible person will be responsible for ensuring the efficiency of business operations as well as setting strategic goals for the future.

Optiven Construction Company is based in Kitengela, Namanga Road, Acacia Junction, we are known to be the leading manufacturing company in construction items majorly Cabros, Hollow Blocks, Paving Slabs, Road Channels, Road Kerbs, Wall Copings, Culverts, Louvers, Fencing poles and many others.

The successful candidate will be a competent leader able to provide guidance that enhances performance in a manner which incorporates the company’s vision and culture. The goal will be to ensure the profitability of our company’s activities to drive sustainable development and long-term success.

Reporting to: Company Directors.
Location: Kitengela

Duties and Responsibilities

Business Development & Marketing

  • Developing business management goals and objectives that lead to growth and prosperity.
  • Designing and implementing business plans and strategies to promote the attainment of goals.
  • Maximizing new business development opportunities for the organization.
  • Gathering, analyzing and interpreting external and internal data and write reports.
  • Coordinating activities that affect operational decisions and business requirements.
  • Representing the company in meetings and events i.e. exhibitions, conferences, Activations and other construction or real estate projects.
  • Identifying and targeting areas in which a business can improve operation
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Procurement Management

  • Maintaining relationships with vendors & suppliers.
  • Participating in purchases of materials and services required for production.
  • Ensuring effective purchases of raw materials without compromising quality & with price sensitivity.
  • Ensuring that the company has the adequate and suitable resources to complete its activities (e.g. material, equipment etc.)
  • Sourcing for bids and tenders & coordinating with internal departments for Supply.
  • Proposing the best technical and economic solutions (quality, cost & deadlines)
  • Communicating any changes in the order or delivery date to relevant parties.

Financial Management

  • Assessing overall company financial performance and report on daily sales and production.
  • Monitoring revenue margins, maximizing revenue through innovative sales practices and yield management programs.
  • Preparing financial projections, reports and targets and reporting to the directors on a Monthly at times weekly basis.
  • Advising management on financial related matters.

People Management

  • Ensuring adherence to legal rules and guidelines.
  • Determining hiring needs, overseeing assignment of employees and planning staff development.
  • Overseeing employees’ productivity.
  • Organizing and coordinating operations in ways that ensure maximum productivity.
  • Supervising the work of employees and provide feedback and counsel to improve efficiency and effectiveness.
  • Motivating, mentoring and providing direction to the team

Customer Relationship Management

  • Be fully conversant with the commercial and technical requirements of customers.
  • Discussing monthly customer complaint reports with the management and offer solutions.
  • Meeting existing and potential clients, identifying and gathering their specific needs at an early stage.
  • Securing the relationship with the clients until the achievement of their projects.
  • Be the face of company and day to day point of contact with clients in all regions.
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Requirements: – Abilities, Knowledge and Skills

  • Bachelor’s degree in Marketing, Business Administration, Accounting, Finance, Economics or Civil engineering.
  • Great Exposure to Sales and Marketing Initiatives
  • Strong communication, organizational, presentation and negotiation skills
  • Ability to take ownership, working independently and meeting deadlines
  • Possess personal qualities of integrity, credibility, and commitment to company mission
  •  Ability to engage and motivate others.
  • Strong reporting skills.
  • Excellent in developing customer relationships and customer service
  • Professionalism, high level of maturity, good character with positive values

Applicants who meet the above criteria are required to send their applications with “BUSINESS MANAGER” being the subject of the email and with detailed CV,names & addresses of three referees.  Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.

Note: We do not charge any fee for recruitment.



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DPP Haji now targets Keroche power couple with Sh14 billion tax evasion suit



DPP Noordin Haji has ordered for the arrest and arraignment of Keroche Breweries directors Tabitha Karanja and Joseph Karanja for allegedly evading taxes amounting Sh14.45 billion since 2015.

In a statement to newsrooms, the DPP said investigations revealed that the directors could be culpable of 10 counts of tax fraud between January 2015 to June 2019.

The DPP said the KRA commissioner general submitted an inquiry file to his office on August 18 and an audit by KRA established that Keroche Breweries had evaded payment of tax tallying to Sh14,451,836,375.

The amount evaded, according to the DPP, included stamps valued at Sh329,424,019, Crescent Vodka brand valued at Sh135,402,950 among other products registered under the company.

The exercise duty evaded on the said products, according to KRA, amounted to Sh2,101,846,768 billion.


The DPP says that he is satisfied that there is sufficient evidence and that it is in the public interest to charge the suspects with 10 counts of tax fraud contrary to the Tax Procedures Act of 2015.

For more than a decade, Keroche has been battling with Kenya Revenue Authority over tax arrears the brewer owes the taxman.

In 2017, a three-judge Court of Appeal bench ruled that KRA had abused its powers by sending a tax demand of the three tax heads and penalties amounting to Sh1.1 billion through a letter dated November 29, 2006.

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The ruling was the third in the 10-year battle in favour of the brewer, which gave them a fresh lease of life to the 20-year-old Keroche.

The letter was dismissed as unreasonable because it had come without an accompanying schedule of details of the said assessment and without proper notices.

The revenue authority had appealed an earlier decision by the High Court on July 6, 2007, where Justice Joseph Nyamu had prohibited the taxman from demanding the taxes, citing “abuse of powers”.

The taxman, who was also demanding an additional Value Added Tax of Sh305 million, was basing the tax bill on an assessment carried out in 2006, where some Keroche products had allegedly not been given the right classification, hence being subject to lower taxation.

by nairobinews

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