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Things get thick in Thika: Missing millionaire was heavily indebted

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The missing Thika businessman Julius Gitau was heavily indebted and going through a marital problem when he mysteriously disappeared, the Nation has learnt.

With creditors breathing down his neck, auctioneers knocking on his doors and a marriage on the rocks, the trader rushed to his mother on September 20 for emotional support when everything around him seemed to be falling apart.

The Covid-19 pandemic had affected his businesses as sales had dipped by over 70 per cent due to the tough restrictions aimed at containing the spread of the virus.

At home, things were also getting out of control due to bad blood between his first love Lucy Wahu and her co-wives, Rachel Muthoni and Celina Nelly.

“Gitau told me that he was having problems with his suppliers. Five firms had even started sending auctioneers to his two general merchandise shops in Thika town, an issue that had embarrassed him. My son was going through mental torture,” Ms Rosemary Wanjiru, 68, told the Nation at her Kaharati home in Murang’a yesterday.

Some of the suppliers had even repossessed their stock and pressure was mounting on him to pay up or face legal action.

READ ALSO:   Wife and driver of missing Thika trader under probe

“Proud and stubborn, my son hates any form of embarrassment and has a very dry sense of humour, that’s why those public tiffs with creditors were taking a toll on his mental health,” said Ms Wanjiru.

Gitau then left his mother’s home at midnight, promising to call in the morning, but her maternal instincts kept her awake throughout.

“His confessions troubled me. I thought of selling part of our family land so Gitau could settle some of his most pressing debts. I called him at around 7.30am and we spoke for a few minutes. I cannot tell whether he was in his second or first wife’s home, or elsewhere. I wish I had asked him because this would have given us a starting point in this long and anxious search for him,” she said.

Suicide note

Earlier, Gitau had taken his second wife Muthoni to Nakuru to inspect one of his farms.

“He showed Muthoni a piece of land he had bought for her. He later visited his third wife, Nelly, in Ithanga village. I tried to convince him to spend the night with us but he refused as he wanted to brief her on her properties, before heading back to Maporomoko Estate in Thika to Wahu,” said Ms Wanjiru.

“He shared briefly that Wahu was giving him problems owing to the family wealth share ratio but I told him to use dialogue and compromises to settle the matter,” she added.

READ ALSO:   Missing trader: Focus now turns to life cover theory

The following day, Wahu and her nephew, Geoffrey Wachira, reported to police at around 4pm that the trader was missing and had left behind a suicide note that indicated he had lost hope in life. They gave Gitau’s age as 60, yet he is 44 years.

Wahu said she was with Gitau in one of the Thika shops at around 9.30am when he allegedly left for the gym in an old truck that he later abandoned near Blue Post Hotel at around 10am.

Detectives have since dismissed this narrative, with Thika Businessmen Community chairman Alfred Wanyoike terming it “a silly fabrication”.

Police claimed Gitau never authored the suicide note while business associates alleged the trader did not show up in Thika town that morning.

“Please get my son before I die of anxiety… each day that passes without knowing the whereabouts of my son drives me closer to the grave. I remain hopeful he is alive somewhere,” Ms Wanjiru told the Nation.

by nation.africa


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Lifestyle

Rachel Ruto cycles in honour of Kenya Airways staff killed in motorcycle accident

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Deputy President William Ruto’s wife Rachel has joined her fellow cyclists in celebrating one of them who was killed in an accident.

Rachel Ruto.

Rachel Ruto cycling in the company of biking enthusiasts. Photo: Rachel Ruto.
Source: Facebook

Rachel and members of Spin Kings Kenya bikers group on Saturday, November 28, took to the road to cycle in honour of the late Patricia Wangui “Kui” Gitonga.

“Today I cycled in honor of Kui Gitonga, a biker whose life was cut short in a motorcycle accident. During her free time, she was a volunteer road marshal for cycling groups, protecting and ensuring a safe route by directing cyclists,” she posted.

The Kenya Airways employee was cycling along Ngong road on Saturday, November 21, when she rammed into an overlapping saloon car which had reportedly veered off the lane.

“We lost our first ever lady biker to a collision with a recklessly driving maniac who lost control of his speeding car and veered into the path of our sister at a high rate of speed, side swiping and injuring her extensively,” her fellow biking enthusiast Kennedy Marete mourned.

Rachel Ruto.

The late Kui Gitonga. Photo: Rachel Ruto.
Source: Facebook

Kui’s memorial service will be held at Consolata Shrine in Westlands on Monday after which her remains will be ferried to Karatina for burial on Tuesday, December 1.

READ ALSO:   Missing trader: Focus now turns to life cover theory

A month ago, a doctor who had urged the government to curb road accidents was killed while cycling on Tuesday, September 27, along Kiambu road.

Alphonce Ogada, a consultant pediatric dentist loved cycling and on that fateful day, the father of two atop his favorite bike when a recklessly driven matatu hit and killed him.

His demise followed that of a fellow cyclist and young engineer Caleb Omwoyo who was on his way home on the evening of Wednesday, September 16, when he met his death.

By Tuko.co.ke


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Health

PS Kibicho reveals he contracted coronavirus

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Interior Principal Secretary Karanja Kibicho has revealed that he contracted coronavirus and recovered after undergoing treatment.

While addressing mourners in Kirinyaga County on Friday Dr Kibicho said Covid-19 is not a death sentence.

“I tested positive for coronavirus, but I was treated and discharged from hospital,” he said at Gathuthuini Primary School during the funeral service of a local church leader.

“I am a living example. Those who are suffering from the disease should not worry because they will get well,” he said, adding that out of 100 people who contract the disease in Kenya only two succumb to it.

Dr Kibicho advised Kenyans to be tested for the disease because it is curable.

“Kenyans should be tested to know their status so that they can be treated,” he said.

The PS also urged Kenyans not to stigmatise people who have contracted the virus.

“Covid-19 patients should be showed love and not rejection. When the patients are abandoned, they become depressed and may take longer to recover,” he said.

He also underscored the need for everyone to continue observing protocols issued by the Ministry of Health to control the spread of Covid-19.

READ ALSO:   Wife and driver of missing Thika trader under probe

“People should wear masks, sanitise regularly, wash their hands and avoid crowded places,” he said.

The PS further said that city residents should avoid travel during the holidays.

“If I had power, I would lock Nairobi during the festive season to curb spread of the dis-ease to rural areas,” Dr Kibicho said.


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Business

Carpenter hopes payday in sight in 27-year fight over presidential seats

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For the past 27 years, Solomon Njoroge Kiore has battled with the government over a debt that was initially Sh195 million but has now ballooned to more than Sh500 million in an unpaid bill for presidential furniture he delivered.

Tomorrow (Monday), Mr Kiore will go to the High Court in Milimani hoping that the end is in sight as he is supposed to get a hearing date for a case that has had many twists and turns.

In 1992, Mr Kiore, the proprietor of Furncon, a furniture company, won a government tender to supply presidential furniture but down the line, the deal went sour when the military officials returned the chairs a year after President Daniel arap Moi had used them — allegedly without payment.

The chairs had been acquired through the Ministry of Defence and approved by State House, according to court documents.

The government has denied failing to make the payment and he went to court to seek redress in 2007.

Although Mr Moi used the chairs for a year, Furncon says the military returned them to his workshop.

But the parties could not agree on the amount to be paid, with the businessman citing lack of goodwill on the side of the state.

Sh527 million

That year, Mr Kiore was seeking Sh527 million, being the price, court costs and storage charges.

He told the court he did not receive any invitation to negotiate a settlement.

Then last year, Symon Yator Cheberek, a military colonel, took over the case after Attorney General Kihara Kariuki appointed him to represent the state in all civil matters in which the Ministry of Defence is a party.

High Court judge Joseph Sergon allowed Col Cheberek to act for the state, but Mr Kiore objected this saying allowing a military officer to take up the matter was tantamount to court-martialling him.

“There can never be a situation where a civilian can be in court one on one with a distinctive disciplined and uniformed force,” he stated in an affidavit on March 25, 2019.

Col Cheberek said he is an advocate of the High Court of Kenya and the Attorney General was in order to appoint him.

Justice Sergon has declined the recusal plea, saying the claims of bias could not be proved.

 Now, Mr Kiore says his business has died, as he can no longer use the premises where he has kept the chair as it is an instrument of power.

“It was used by a President for a year. It is treasured and therefore no one is supposed to touch it. My business has suffered immensely because of this seat,” he says in his court documents.

In a letter dated May 10, 2001, the Attorney General informed Mr Kiore that the Department of Defence had extended a without-prejudice offer purely out of honour and respect for presidential instruments.

“However, having realised that your claims include other items worth millions of shillings reflective of your other financial issues not related to the chair in question, it has not been possible to formally make the offer to you,” states the letter signed by V Onyango, a deputy litigation officer at the State Law Office.

Admission of liability

The offer, the officer states, is not the government’s admission of liability, because “the said chairs were ordered by the Agricultural Society of Kenya”.

He says the seat was made under strict supervision of the military and State House staff.

The firm says it was asked to make more furniture for presidential lounges at the Eldoret Moi Airbase and Kahawa Garrison and deliver the chairs to the Agricultural Society of Kenya offices in Nairobi for a three-day presidential function.

But the President ordered that the furniture remain at the ASK offices, according to a letter by the ASK dated August 5, 1999.

Now, Furncon wants a declaration that the ownership of the items was passed on to the government in September 1992, under the National Flag, Emblems and Names Act and as such they are instruments of power.

by nation africa


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