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Kenyatta Family Influence Behind Controversial JKIA Takeover

JKIA
[PHOTO/ COURTESY]

The Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) takeover scheme has over time taken several twists and turns with many Kenyans including a number of prominent persons opposing the idea.

However, despite the many questions about the take over plan, the cabinet is claimed to have already approved the takeover plan by Kenya Airways.

Reports indicate the the cabinet consented to the deal on claims that the loss-making Kenya Airways is far better equipped with expertise to manage and improve JKIA than KAA.

The approval is claimed to have come few days after workers at JKIA ended their strike, one that left many passengers stranded.

This revelation comes after legislators tried to bar the takeover plan from going forward on claims that its a scheme by top forces in Kenya to rip off the taxpayers.

It is further claimed that the halt ordered by the MPs was dismissed by the National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi who also stopped a parliamentary watchdog committee from investigating proposed takeover.

Additionally, Muturi ruled that the Mvita MP Abduldwamad Nassir-led team was not the right team to probe the merger.

It is alleged that Muturi made this call due to his close ties with the President.

Read: MPs Dismiss PS Esther Koimett For Failing To Produce JKIA Take Over Documents

Despite Kenya Airways receiving a backing from the government for the take over, it is noted to owe two banks , one associated with Kenyatta family, a combined Ksh5 billion.

It is strongly believed that the Kenyatta family, who also owns Commercial Bank of Africa which is owed by Kenya Airways, have a keen interest on the country’s aviation sector.

With the merger, the first family is claimed to be set to control Kenya’s and East Africa’s get-way airport to the world.

According to reports, the take over plans began as soon as Johnny Andersen was named the managing director of KAA by the President’s sanction.

The push to take over is equally noted to have been fueled by KQ Lenders Co Ltd which was incorporated when banks that loaned KQ decided to convert loans worth Ksh17.3 billion into shareholding of 39.1 percent.

However, the real shareholders of KQ lenders remain unidentified.

The company itself, KQ Lenders Co Ltd,  is managed by an offshore trust based in Mauritius knows as Minerva Fiduciary Services.

Read: Mudavadi Asks Uhuru To Stop KQ-JKIA Takeover Scheme And Deal With Graft

Interestingly, that company was mentioned in the leaked Panama Papers saga as one of the offshore accounts which is often used by politicians and judges to hide stolen money abroad.

Another important detail to note is that with the takeover of JKIA by KQ, the two owed banks will merge as a way of recouping the advanced loans.

According to NIC managing director John Gachora, the merger would give the the banks a big balance sheet to leverage national development.

Additionally, once finalized, the merger will create the third largest bank in the country with an asset base of Ksh444 billion.

The ongoing merger, which is scheduled to be completed before the end of the year, is reported to give President Uhuru Kenyatta powers to influence board decisions at an unprecedented scale.

During the time that KQ was amassing unsustainable loans from KQ lenders, the CEO of CBA Bank, Jeremy Ngunze had his elder brother Mbuvi Ngunze serving as the then CEO of KQ.

Despite only CBA and NIC being included in the immediate merger discussions, it is necessary to note that the airline also owes Equity bank Ksh5.2 billion, National Bank Ksh3.5 billion, Cooperative bank Ksh3.3 billion, DTB Bank Ksh2.1 billion and KCB Group Ksh2.1 billion.

Media mogul Chris Kirubi is also noted to have bought shares worth Ksh2 million when the company was suffering grievous losses.

Even as the takeover is seemingly a way of restoring the lost glory of JKIA, it still has more asked questions than answers.

With the Auditor-General Edward Ouko raising alarms over the plot terming it as an ‘unscrupulous plan.’

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Written by Kahawa Tungu

Email: news@kahawatungu.com

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