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6 Multi-Billion Kenyatta Family Companies & Assets

Business Today looks at some of the family's known assets including stakes in major companies, offshore investments and land holdings

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The family of former President Uhuru Kenyatta has been in the spotlight in recent weeks. President William Ruto and DP Rigathi Gachagua have accused powerful figures in previous administrations of evading their taxes, and have maintained that they will ensure everyone pays taxes.Ruto accused these individuals of sponsoring anti-government rallies to avoid paying their taxes. Taking a cue, Kenya Kwanza leaders including multiple Senators have pointed a finger at the former President and his family, demanding that they pay taxes.

The family’s wealth including massive land holdings grew significantly in the independence years under Kenya’s first President Jomo Kenyatta. His widow, Mama Ngina Kenyatta, is credited with overseeing the family’s diversification into various sectors with the family having its foot in sectors including financial services, dairy processing, hospitality, real estate, media and more. The leak of the ‘Pandora Papers’ in 2021 also exposed several offshore assets owned by members of the family, including one company with $30 million in stocks and bonds.

Mama Ngina Kenyatta has already come out to deny the tax evasion claims, stating that action should be taken by authorities if they have any evidence of wrongdoing. In a 2018 BBC interview, former President Uhuru Kenyatta maintained that his family’s wealth was acquired legally, and known to the public.

“As I have always stated, what we own – what we have – is open to the public. As a public servant I’m supposed to make my wealth known and we declare every year,” he stated. “If there’s an instance where somebody can say that what we have done or obtained has not been legitimate, say so – we are ready to face any court.”

Here, Business Today looks at some of the family’s known assets including stakes in major companies, offshore investments and land holdings

  1. NCBA Group

The Kenyatta family holds a 13.2% stake in NCBA Group, Kenya’s third-largest bank by asset value. For the year ended December 2021, the family received a dividend pay out of  Ksh625.5 million – the highest dividend payout among the bank’s shareholders.

NCBA was established in 2018 following the merger of NIC Bank and Commercial Bank of Africa, with the Kenyatta family having held stakes in the latter. The merger was completed though a share swap, with NIC group shareholders owning 47 percent of the merged entity and CBA shareholders including the Kenyatta family owning 53 percent of the merged entity.

READ MORE>Multi-Million NCBA Deal Returns to Haunt Uhuru

2. Brookside Dairy Limited

Brookside Dairy Limited is the largest processor of dairy products in Kenya, with revenues in the billions of shillings. As of 2019, it had a 45% market share according to the Kenya Dairy Board (KDB). Its closest competitor, government-owned New KCC, was a distant second with 25%.

French food processor Danone in 2014 bought a 40 per cent stake in Brookside , with the Kenyatta family retaining a controlling stake. The transaction offered a glimpse into Brookside’s books, as it disclosed the company generated Ksh15.4 billion in sales in the previous year, dwarfing many NSE-listed firms.

3. Mediamax

Mediamax is one of Kenya’s largest media companies. Its assets include K24, The People’s Daily and Kameme FM. The Kenyatta family acquired the company from K24 founder Rose Kimotho, whose company defaulted on a bank loan.

READ > The Few Billionaires Who Control Kenya’s Media Industry

4. Heritage Group

The Kenyatta family has also invested heavily in hospitality through the Heritage Group of Hotels, a chain of high end hotels in Kenya. Their properties include Voyager camp and beach resort in Tsavo and Mombasa, Kipungani Explorer on Lamu island, Intrepids camps in Samburu and the Maasai Mara, Golf Hotel in Naivasha, The Great Rift Valley Lodge and Mara Explorer camp.

5. Offshore Accounts

The leak of the Pandora Papers in 2021 as part of a global investigation offered a glimpse into the Kenyattas’ offshore investments. Among them was a company with stocks and bonds worth $30m (Ksh4.5 billion). The family had registered foundations and companies in Panama, which is known for the ability it offers individuals to conceal their ownership of funds and assets.

One of the Kenyatta companies bought an apartment in central London valued at around $1.3 million, according to filings at the UK Land Registry. The prime property was until recently rented by British MP Emma Ann Hardy.

Hardy’s spokesperson stated at the time that she had “absolutely no knowledge” of who owned the property.

6. Land holdings

The exact size of the Kenyattas’ land holdings is unknown, but the family has vast tracts in several different parts of the country. Before leaving office, former President Uhuru Kenyatta acquired a 1,000 acre ranch in Oloolmongi, Lolgorian district in Trans Mara, Narok. He has been spotted in Narok numerous time since leaving State House.

The ranch overlooks the Mara triangle – a wildlife-rich area managed by the non-profit organization The Mara Conservancy. It is typically less visited and crowded compared to the Maasai Mara National Reserve, and is one of the prime viewing locations for the Great Wildebeest Migration.

READ>Uhuru’s Retirement Lifestyle in 1,000-Acre Narok Ranch

A declassified CIA report made public six years ago also revealed some of the family’s land holdings at the time of Jomo Kenyatta’s passing in 1978.

“(Jomo) Kenyatta himself owned only about a half-dozen properties covering roughly 4,000 hectares, mainly farms in the Rift Valley and in the district of Kiambu where he was born. His wife, Mama Ngina Kenyatta, however, owns at least 115,000 hectares including a 13,000 hectare ranch in the Kiambu district, two tea plantations at Matu and Mangu, and three sisal farms near the Tanzanian border. She also has considerable holdings in the resort areas around Mombasa and is involved in coffee plantations and in the Kenyan ruby mines,” it read in part.

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12 COMMENTS

  1. We used to blame the colonial governments for intensive African exploitation but in reality the problems are our African ruling elites

    • There is no such a thing as exploitation by anyone anywhere in the world. The elites you talk about are people who sees opportunities and seizes it. In business, most investors are blind to emerging markets and trends. So only those who are one eyed becomes the King or queen.

  2. Those calling for everyone to pay taxes should also reveal their own tax remittances and their own wealth. I’m all for EVERYONE paying taxes, not just some witch hunting.

  3. And none of these businesses were inherited from Jomo. Neither were they acquired during Uhuru’s tenure as president. Mama Ngina is the powerhouse behind these businesses. Their businesses are also professionally managed. No need to be envious of their wealth. You cannot brighten your candle by dimming your neighbour’s. Create your own path and stop wasting time and energy on others success.

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