Businessman Jimi Wanjigi has disclosed that he helped negotiate a Sh16 billion donation from Chinese government officials when he accompanied retired President Mwai Kibaki during a trip to China.
Sh16 billion gift that Wanjigi raised from his friends
Wanjigi also told Linus Kaikai why he rejected a blank cheque from both Uhuru and Ruto.
During an interview with Citizen TV’s Linus Kaikai on Sunday night, Wanjigi explained that his friends wanted to gift Kenya to celerate the newly elected president.
"In 2003 when the president was going to China, I had a lot of chinese government friends and one of the things they were offering as a gift to the Kenyan people through the new president was a stadium," he recalled.
The businessman said he however convinced his friends in the Chinese government at the time to fund the construction of the road from Jomo Kenyatta International Airport to Gigiri instead of the original plan of a stadium.
“We managed to get a grant, in other words, a gift to the Kenyan people of 150 million dollars (Sh16 billion) that did the road from the airport all the way to Gigiri through Uhuru Highway. That road was a game-changer...that road previously...anytime you had a bit of rain there will be a pothole within a year.
“We changed the game and in 2006 that road was ready and up to date, until now when there's been some construction on it, there's never been a pothole. Very little maintenance on that road. We changed the game and it was a gift,” Wanjigi explained.
He also disclosed that he helped secure Sh10 billion funding for the construction of the Thika Superhighway.
“I was an agent of companies that participated in Thika Road (project), that I accept, and that was a game-changing project.
“I even raised the money because African Development Bank (ADB) funded about Sh22 billion, it was a shortfall of about Sh10 billion which we managed to raise from China,” Wanjigi said.
The businessman is one of the candidates vying to succeed President Uhuru Kenyatta in 2022 on an ODM ticket.
Not many people can share in the privillege of having friends who can raise Sh16 billion, but that is who Wanjigi is a wheeler dealer in Kenya and beyond.
"I'm an agent of various companies and development projects are the biggest projects in Africa and even in Kenya...government today is 70 percent of the economy of this country, who would not want to do business or have an inclination to touching business with government," Wanjigi said during the interview.
He previously operated within the corridors of power but in recent years he grabbed headlines after falling out with President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto.
“I supported Raila Odinga because I had fallen out with the policies of the UhuRuto government completely and I said after they were away from the ICC cases in 2015, I was going to do my best to get them out of power and I called my friend (Odinga) and I said I have a path, and I think we went very very far, very very far...strategically we went very very far,” Wanjigi said.
He also revealed that after the fallout Uhuru and Ruto gave him a blank cheque to pick any project he wished but the businessman told them off.
"In early 2015, the two of them approached me to ask me to take whatever business I want and I told them I want nothing, not one project, even the SGR. I'm telling you after Iacrimony in 2014 they approached me, both of them and I said I don't want one business," he revealed.
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