The Corruption in Advertising, PR and Marketing Agencies in Kenya MUST End

PR practitioners at the recent PRSK award gala in Mombasa

If you don’t know it already, kindly know that the level of corruption in agencies associated with advertising, marketing and PR in Kenya is just at a level where you will not like or understand it.

One interesting case is that of Jameson Kenya which is being handled through Pernord Ricard. The company owns the local rights for Jameson, Absolute Vodka, Glenlivet, Martell, Ballantines among others. The head of marketing is one Esther Muhoro while the Jameson Brand Manager is Yvonne Achieng’.

So the problem started at Yvonne Achieng’ level (Brand Manager).

The brand manager is daughter to one Janet Abondo who also sleeps with Alan Oyugi. Yvonne’s mother (Janet Abondo) and Allan started a company called Xtreme Media Solutions Africa. Ok! Extreme Media existed but it never handled marketing and activations for companies. So they were venturing into a new field.

Alan Oyugi’s only magic to growth in the market is how he uses his magic stick. He doesn’t drink and only engages in sex with women, mostly old ones and those who can link him to good business. When he wanted to crack the dominance of MoSound at Safaricom, he had to get to Gina Din, sleep with one of the employees called Carole Muthaura and made his way when he won. Gina didn’t mind since she was also using the same trick.

Dada Gina is a powerful lady. She is one of the few ladies who can live with two men in the same house. When she had her PR mojo on, she was living with Minister Joe Nyagah and Captain Kariuki in the same house. Yes! One woman two men. Sweet like what. When she needed some connections to crack the market and push more business, she got Joe or some other mean we’d tell you later.

At Gina Din, Carole, Desiree Gomes and Gina were the ones calling the shots.

So when Alan got his way at Safaricom through Gian Din, he thought he had conquered the market. Alan’s body count is serious in the market. It’s damn serious.

Recent, BIDCO partnered with a Danish company called CO-RO (BIDCORO) to start a fruit-based soft-drink. The seeding, roadshow and church activations for the new drinks were initially to be done by Centre Stage Marketing, where Janet Abondo was working. But Janet was not getting along with CSM staff. She is not social and rude to colleagues most of the time. She felt above everyone.

So Alan and Janet started dating or sleeping with each other and maybe because Alan saw the opportunity. Janet manages to bring Suntop juice to Xtreme Media where she then gets employed and indirect shareholding. She is also rewarded with perks beyond the magic stick for getting the Suntop business from Centre Stage Marketing.

Allan Oyugi and a colleague at a past event

While they start off well, things get so bad as Janet starts mistreating the Suntop activation team. The whole team resigns. Turnover has been great and recently even one joined from Y&R but we can bet with you on this, he won’t last long there.

While getting the Suntop business running, Alan and Janet used Janet’s daughter, Yvonne Achieng’, who is Jameson Brand Manager at Pernod Ricard to identify the business they could get at Yvonne’s place of employment. So Yvonne knew that YDx Marketing was handling the Jameson account. She called for a pitch but without informing YDx. So other agencies submitted a proposal and Joe Ngatia who was then working at YDx was tasked by Yvonne Achieng’ who constantly met him in the Pernod Ricard boardrooms, to create a pitch for Xtreme Media Solutions Africa where her mother works and has shareholding, albeit indirectly.

Janet Achieng’ Abondo begging Donald Ouko to let her give him another baby as requested. Funny!!!

Even before getting the capacity and skills to handle the business, Xtreme Media uses the CV of key staff members of YDx who were handling the account to pitch for the business. Xtreme used YDx proposal, staff and tactics to get the business after which they poached the 3 staff members who were handling the account.

Agencies which pitched with Xtreme Media were surprised when they later learnt what happened. Esther Muhoro who is the marketing boss at the Pernod Ricard played ignorant and said that she was not aware. Insiders at Pernod have indicated to us that she gets kickbacks on these activations and so there was no way she was not in the know.

Allan’s company has had an events arm which has been in existence for ages. It is the company which was responsible for stage and lighting for Safaricom’s Chapa Dimba promotion. The cartel at Safaricom have made Xtreme Media Solutions Africa work on small events while MoSound gets all the big events.

Remember that MoSound was founded by Kevin Mulei. The model Kevin used to build MoSound sounds like perfect corporate corruption study case. Kevin was doing events through Gina Dina PR which was handling Safaricom’s PR, Advertising and Marketing then.

While still on Safaricom contracts, MoSound was found to lack capacity on many fronts. So Safaricom CEO Gina Din who was closer than close also to Michael Joseph agreed that MoSound was going to be built. Zaheeda Suleman who was at Safaricom was tasked to give MoSound money to make purchases in China for all equipment they needed but major part of the purchase was for Safaricom’s own equipment.

Yvonne Achieng Brand Manager of JamesonPernod Ricard when she was at Safaricom

Ksh 300 million was given to Kevin and with this, Zaheeda got her first major kickback in the form of a Villa located in one of upmarket estates in Nairobi. She also got access to cash through MoSound whenever she needed it. Payments made to MoSound would come to Zaheeda and other top Safaricom executives in cash.

These acts of deceit, sexually transmitted contracts and outright corruption among the PR, Advertising and Marketing agencies in Kenya is not unique to the above.

One popular case is that which has grown to be the biggest fight in the industry. Transcend Media which owned by businessman Mike Njeru pitched for youth-focused Blaze advertising business at Safaricom. The Ksh 1.2 billion worth of business contract was later awarded to Saracen, a move which Transcend opposed through court. The fight became ugly when the exchanges grew into personalised fights and have refused to end.

The award to Saracen was reportedly pushed by Sylvia Mulinge who is known to be a key silent owner of Saracen Media. Continuation of the fight was recently witnessed when associates of Mike Njeru through Former Prime Minister Raila Odinga pushed President John Pombe Magufuli to reject the appointment of Sylvia Mulinge as the CEO of Vodacom Tanzania. The protest succeeded as the appointment was reversed even after Safaricom organised a lavish send-off party for Sylvia. She was later re-absorbed at the firm where she is now the second most powerful individual after Bob Collymore.

Sources within the industry have revealed to us that Safaricom operates by maintaining the same agencies and associates over the years because they know how the kickback and other corrupt systems within works. You will certainly see the same MCs, DJs, celebrities, suppliers and stakeholders in the Safaricom circles.

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Written by Kahawa Tungu


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