Police officers at the gate of Mr Wanjigi’s Muthaiga residence. PHOTO/TWITTER
By PATRICK MAYOYO
Revelations by billionaire businessman Jimi Wanjigi that the government of President Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto was formed in his Muthaiga residence that police raided recently reveals the tycoons intricate business dealings with the political class in Kenya.
The raid followed police reports that they had found some five guns in a Malindi villa an allegation dismissed by Mr Wanjigi as a police set-up.
But what is the real story behind Mr Wanjigi’s claims that his life is danger and the recent raid at his home?
Apart from his revelation that the Jubilee government was formed in his house, Mr Wanjigi was the architect of the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) and other multi-billion deals before the Jubilee government came to power.
The proposal to build the SGR from Mombasa to Nairobi, at an eye-watering Sh327 billion, was Mr Wanjigi’s brainchild.
Why Jimi is not happy with Jubilee
Billionaire businessman Jimi Wanjigi and his wife when he addressed a press conference over the raid at his home. PHOTO/TWITTER
He initiated the SGR idea during the Grand Coalition government of retired President Mwai Kibaki and then Prime Minister Raila Odinga.
In August 2009, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed for a feasibility study and the preliminary design for Phase One of the SGR.
The first phase is the line between Mombasa and Nairobi. The study was being undertaken by China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC).
The feasibility study cleared the way for the signing of the construction contract between the government and CRBC. However, the Jubilee government was to change this agreement into a government-to-government contract thereby elbowing Mr Wanjigi out of the deal.
Apart from the SGR project, Mr Wanjigi was behind the Chinese company that had won the contract to construct the new terminal at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA), another one behind the dredging of the Lamu channel, another one that had won a tender to construct a second container terminal at Mombasa port among other multi-billion construction tenders that were cancelled by the Uhuruto government.
Mr Wanjigi was also to lose millions of shillings he had invested in acquiring thousands of acres of land in Lamu County where the Lamu Port and South Sudan Ethiopia Transport Corridor (Lappset) project was to be based after the Jubilee government cancelled the land allocations.
He is a suave businessman and wheeler dealer
Jimi is a suave businessman and wheeler dealer. His closest confidantes call him James Bond, John Walker or JW.
His house at 44 Muthaiga Road, a stone’s throw away from the residence of the United States ambassador, is where he has hobnobbed with the wealthy and the loaded and cut both multi-million business and political deals.
He is said to live like a king but also like James Bond — the stylish secret agent, 007 movie star in author Ian Flemming films.
So secretive is Mr Wanjigi that, until recently, many Kenyans had never seen his picture.
However, since the race for State House began ahead of the August 8, General Election, Mr Wanjigi has emerged as a powerful behind-the-scenes operative within the Raila Odinga-led National Super Alliance (Nasa).
While Mr Wanjigi occasionally appears at Nasa’s political events, his name has been mentioned as one of the major donors to its campaign fund and its strategic think tank.
He is a son of former Cabinet minister James Maina Wanjig.
Jimi’s political connections
Mr Wanjigi and Nasa leaders Kalonzo Musyoka and Moses Wetangula. PHOTO/COURTESY
He was linked to the controversial multi-billion Anglo Leasing scandal contracts but was cleared by numerous government watchdog bodies.
In his early years, he became friends with Brigadier (Rtd) Wilson Boinnet, who had been appointed to head the Special Branch in 1995 with a singular agenda of transforming the spy agency.
It is Brigadier Boinnet that helped Mr Wanjigi become a major player in security contracts in government circles.
Mr Wanjigi was adversely mentioned by the Public Accounts Committee in Parliament in the Sh7.6 billion passport and forensic lab scandals.
His connections and networks in the security circles
Police officers at his Muthaiga residence. PHOTO/FACEBOOK
JW is the most feared businessman in Kenya today and there are good reasons why.
His connections and networks in Kenya’s security circles goes back to the Kanu era when he entered into security tenders, due to his close relations with former vice-president George Saitoti and his friendship with former National Security Intelligence Service boss Wilson Boinett.
Mr Wanjigi gained political prominence with the Anglo Leasing scandal in which fictitious and briefcase companies were single-sourced and awarded multi-billion-shilling security tenders during the final years of the Kanu regime.
Mr Wanjigi and his associates used these approvals to have smooth flow into the billionaires club and it is now known that between 1997 (four years before the Cabinet’s approval) and 2003, some 18 contracts worth more than Sh55 billion had already been signed.
Ten more projects were signed before December 2002, while eight more contracts were signed after July 2003 during Mwai Kibaki’s administration.
Jubilee knows that with his connections and networks within Kenya’s security circles, James Bond, the fictitious spy character, has what it takes to neutralize their clandestine machinations against Nasa.
His influence in the security sector, military, parastatals, Parliament, mainline civil service and the media is well known and he is said to get what he wants a phone call away.
His relations with Raila Odinga
Mr Maina Wanjigi, Jimi’s father and Mr Odinga at his Muthaiga residence. PHOTO/FACEBOOK
His close relations with Nasa leaders Raila Odinga, former Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka, and former Cabinet ministers Moses Wetang’ula and Musalia Mudavadi, is said to be giving Jubilee functionaries sleepless nights.
They blame him for all high level security leakages that have emerged in the recent past that were made public by the Nasa presidential candidate.
What annoys Jubilee mandarins most is that previously, Mr Wanjigi enjoyed good standing in Jubilee, where he is reputed to have brokered the alliance between William Ruto’s United Republican Party (URP) and Uhuru Kenyatta’s The National Alliance (TNA).
But it is Jubilee’s text book politics of destroying a kingmaker that made Mr Wanjigi to fall out with them.
After delivering Mr Ruto to join Mr Kenyatta and thereafter winning the 2013 presidential race, Uhuruto decided to short-change Mr Wanjigi on the Sh330 billion standard gauge railway — a project that was reputedly his brainchild during the Grand Coalition government of Raila Odinga and Mwai Kibaki.
Before the Jubilee government tookover, Mr Wanjigi was running almost all government contracting behind the scenes, not just in infrastructure but also in the security sector.
Using Chinese fronts, Mr Wanjigi was behind the building the country’s IT infrastructure not only in the security sector but also in other sectors such as KRA and immigration.
Jimi issues warning that his life is danger
He says somebody is after him. PHOTO/COURTESY
On September 15, the billionaire businessman said his life is in danger. He wrote to Inspector General of Police Joseph Boinnet, complaining about being trailed by unknown people day and night.
In the letter, the billionaire claims that on September 8, a senior State House official personally visited him at home to warn him of a real and imminent threat to his life. He reported the matter at Gigiri Police Station on September 10 under OB number 14/10/9/2.
“This is therefore to bring to the attention of your good office the above subject matter for your urgent intervention and further necessary action by way of providing our client with adequate police security at his cost before any harm is visited on him,” Wanjigi said in the letter through his lawyer Elizabeth Karoki.
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