Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA)’s publication of the top taxpayers’ list has uncovered more than 100 little-known billionaires, whose net worth appears to have grown only recently, catapulting them into the coveted club of the rich.
The fortunes of high-net-worth individuals (HNWIs) with gross annual incomes of between Sh350 million and Sh1 billion have defied the tough economic times that have characterised Kenya in the past six years to grow at a robust speed, according to the taxman’s latest ranking of the leading taxpayers.
Top on the list of the silent billionaires are KPMG’s chief executive Josphat Mwaura, Ernst & Young’s CEO Gitahi Gichahi and Philip Kinisu, the former chairman of the ethics and anti-corruption commission.
Others are SportPesa chairman Paul Ndung’u and Andrew Ndegwa (of the Philip Ndegwa business dynasty).
They are now listed alongside the owners of old money such as stock market billionaire investor Baloobhai Patel, businessman Naushad Merali (Sameer Investments chairman), Bharat Thakrar (Scangroup CEO) as well as industrialists Narendra Raval (Devki Group chairman) and Pradeep Paunrana (ARM Cement CEO).
At least three women, including Lucy Mwiti and Faith Mwikali, have also broken the glass-ceiling to earn their seats at the coveted table of the rich – signalling that Kenya’s patriarchal society that has traditionally concentrated wealth in the hands of men is beginning to change.
The KRA says the data used to calculate the gross income of these individuals for purposes of taxation represents consolidated incomes earned from employment, private partnerships, marketable securities and the array of businesses they control.
“The annual range of Sh350 million to Sh1 billion represents all gross income earned by an individual,” a source familiar with the workings of the medium tax office (MTO), which handles these individuals, said.
The KRA data offers new insight into the population of Kenya’s billionaires whose ranks are expected to be much larger but remains undocumented for tax purposes.
The KRA list is mainly made up of individuals who have adopted relatively greater transparency in management of their wealth and tax obligations. (copyright: Business Daily)