The use of the word tycoon has always been prestigious, especially when used by Kenyan media. However, 2019 saw the word used in all the wrong reasons as DCI George Kinoti and Director of Noordin Haji moved to apprehend suspected criminals.
Tycoons who had a rough year in the hands DCI Kinoti, DPP Noordin Haji
Being referred to a Nairobi tycoon has become a point of concern
Many of those popularly referred to as tycoons had a rough time as they faced arrest and prosecution from various issues ranging from tax evasion, extortion, corruption, fake money scams, among others.
Here is the list of the so-called tycoons who will wish 2019 never happened:
Before February 2019, Henry Waswa was largely known as a flamboyant Nairobi business, even though few knew what his business was.
Waswa first grabbed headlines in 2016 when he offered a free air ticket to Saleh Wanjala aka Bungoma's 'James Bond' who hit the headlines after hanging on a helicopter in Bungoma that was ferrying the body of the late businessman Jacob Juma.
He would later attend pull a stunt after arriving for his traditional ceremony in an entourage of four choppers and a fleet of high-end vehicle. His entourage including youthful MPs and some of his “business colleagues”.
In February this year, a rumor started going around that some daring conmen had mimicked President Uhuru Kenyatta’s voice and falsely obtained Sh10 million from city billionaire Naushad Merali. It was not long before the DCI came pouncing on Waswa, naming him as the head of the gang of young men who had been living large on the proceeds of suspected scam involving elaborate con games.
Waswa’s suspected gang included Duncan Muchai, Isaac Wajekeche, William Simiyu, David Luganya, Gilbert Kirunja and Anthony Wafula.
The group has since been released on bail as the case is proceeding.
At the beginning of the year, Humphrey Kariuki was a little-known Nairobi tycoon with prime assets including The Hub Mall in Karen, the multibillion Fairmont Mt Kenya Safari Club, a petroleum company (Dalbit), and two liquor businesses.
The two liquor businesses, Africa Spirits Limited and Wines of the World produced and distributed popular alcoholic products.
However, Kariuki became a man under siege after Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) directed Director of Criminal Investigations (DCI) George Kinoti to arrest the billionaire on claims of tax evasion.
For nearly two weeks, Kinoti pursued Kariuki, including considering issuance of a warrant of arrest against the Kenyan tycoon.
Since then, is an understatement to say Kariuki has had a rough 2019. He has twice been arrested and is facing allegation of fleecing the taxman billions of money through tax evasion.
Kariuki, who holds a Cypriot passport, risking losing his foreign citizenship over the allegations facing him.
Tabitha and Joseph Karanja
The power couple behind the successful Keroche Breweries became guests of the state in August – courtesy of Kinoti and Haji.
They are currently facing allegations of tax evasion amounting to billions of shillings.
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