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NASA chief financier under siege

Wanjigi has been associated with NASA since the Supreme Court ordered repeat a presidential election but has not attended the Opposition coalition’s high profile events

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The Malindi residence where security officers conducted a raid early Monday. Credit: The Star/Courtesy

Flying Squad officers raided the Nairobi home of businessman Jimmy Wanjigi on Monday.

Wanjigi’s house is located opposite that of US ambassador to Kenya Robert Godec. About 10 Subaru Outbacks are in the luxurious home, a witness told The Star.

Earlier, police officers raided a home in Malindi suspected to belong to him and recovered five AK 47 guns and hundreds of bullets. The billionaire has been accused of smuggling guns into the country with accomplices.

A heavily armed multi-agency team arrived at the house early Monday morning with court orders to ransack it. They recovered five AK 47 guns with several rounds of ammunition.

It is understood police and intelligence agencies have been closely monitoring movement to and from the house and several other people both in Nairobi and Mombasa.

Police suspect the businessman has been working with several people to bring guns into the country using different entry points.

In a well-coordinated raid, another group of officers raided a house in Isiolo where they recovered an unknown number of guns and bullets.

Workers at the Malindi house said businessman Jimmy Wanjigi is their boss and documents found bear the name Kwacha Group of Companies, which is his.

One of the documents was work on a generator where the customer is listed as Kwacha Group of Companies (Malindi).

Wanjigi has been associated with NASA since the Supreme Court ordered repeat a presidential election but has not attended the Opposition coalition’s high profile events.

A search of one of the cars found in the compound shows that it is currently registered to Aldewright Consultants Limited.

The car is a black Porshe Cayenne registration number KBH 441Q.

Police say the house is owned by two Italians but are investigating to establish the suspect behind the firearms

The city businessman has lived a very quiet and sometimes mysterious life despite his business prowess.

Before May 6, 2016, the morning after controversial businessman Jacob Juma was shot dead, the only existing image of Wanjigi was one taken when he was 11 years old.

Two photographs were taken that day – the first proper image of the man in a decade was of him standing next to Opposition leader Raila Odinga, viewing Juma’s body at a mortuary.

For power watchers in Nairobi,  his presence meant Juma was dear to him. The only other time he was spotted in public was four years before when another one of his friends, Interior minister George Saitoti died in a chopper crash.

The event that had Wanjigi in the press in 2005 was one of happiness. In November that year, The Standard published a large full-color image of the man smiling broadly. He was sporting expensive ivory and gold-framed spectacles. The only other image of him taken that day was never published. It was at the wedding of the presidential press service director Isaiah Kabira.

The publication of three images of Wanjigi, taken around events that followed Juma’s death, fascinated those who, in Nairobi’s power circles, know the undercurrents on which the government runs.

For them, Jimmy ‘James Bond’ Wanjigi, is no ordinary man. He is perhaps the most powerful outside of the Kenyan government.

Orengo-Jimmy-Wanjigi-home-in-Muthaiga NASA chief financier under siege

Siaya Senator James Orengo arrives at businessman Jimmy Wanjigi’s Muthaiga home following the police raid. Others who were at the scene include his father, former Cabinet minister Maina Wanjigi, former Machakos Senator Johnstone Muthama and Suna East MP Junet Mohammed.

Known as James Bond to his friends and enemies, Wanjigi has a carefully culled and almost non-existent public profile. Yet the tentacles of his power reach across government agencies, and his hand has been behind some of the greatest deals in the last 15 years.

The businessman’s first interaction with Kenya’s power politics began when he was young. Born in 1962, his father Maina was a senior civil servant with impressive credentials and a bright future.

ALSO SEE: Someone out to take Jimmy Wanjigi’s life?

He joined politics in 1969, when Wanjigi was seven. At only 38, the elder Wanjigi was one of the most learned men in Kenyatta’s circles. An alumni of Alliance High School, Makerere University and Stanford University, his political career spanned two and a half decades and covered several ministries.

Like most men of his generation, the elder Wanjigi created several investment vehicles to handle his money. At the apex of these companies was a single holding firm, Kwacha Group of Companies. Kwacha, in Wanjigi’s story, is a central pillar.

With a political career and a growing fortune, Maina could afford to educate his kids in some of the best schools in Kenya. At St. Mary’’, the younger Wanjigi and his siblings would have the children of the president, the vice president, and other senior government and private sector officials as schoolmates.

In fact, Wanjigi is President Uhuru Kenyatta and Jimmy Kibaki’s age mate and attended school with they and Gideon Moi.

 

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