- The controversial youthful men leave many unanswered questions on their source of wealth.
- These youthful, flashy and often politically ambitious men, mostly carrying licensed firearms.
- Momanyi’s Instagram page is an exhibit of life on the fast lane.
Last week, Robert Momanyi appeared before Milimani Chief Magistrate Martha Mutuku to face charges of causing grievous harm.
He looked calm as he monitored the proceedings through a brown pair of sun glasses. With his three co-accused, they denied causing harm to Kevin Oduor in Nairobi’s Kilimani estate by mercilessly beating him up on Labour Day.
With that turn of events, the public life of Mr Momanyi has come under focus. He is among the growing number of individuals who regularly post pictures of their lavish lifestyles, dominated by wads of cash and luxury cars.
These youthful, flashy and often politically ambitious men, mostly carrying licensed firearms and sometimes moving around with bodyguards, are also not shy to give media interviews on the millions of shillings they spend on luxury items and parties.
That they are also well-connected is not in doubt and even though their public profile is that they are “businessmen”, tracing the businesses they are involved in is never easy. So where does all the money come from?
A common thread is that most of them have had run-ins with the law, including ongoing fraud court cases involving fake gold and counterfeit money deals.
Here is a snapshot of the city’s 10 mystery money men.
During the 2017 election campaigns in Nairobi’s Makadara Constituency, Momanyi sent tongues wagging with his well-oiled campaign that included a Land Cruiser which had a plate inscribed with his surname.
It was during the campaign season that he did a television interview where he discussed cars, watches and rings, among other items.
“You will see me in a (Land Cruiser) ZX, which is top-dollar. You will definitely see me in an S-Class (Mercedes). You will also see me in a Range Rover,” he told the interviewer when asked about the cars he owns.
When queried about the most expensive watch he has ever acquired, he mentioned a Rolex worth Sh600,000.
The budding politician, said to have influential friends in government, revealed that he owns a Sh500,000 suit and shoes worth Sh200,000.
He was also sure to mention that a ring on his left hand was made of diamonds and gold.
Momanyi’s Instagram page is an exhibit of life on the fast lane. It is all about expensive champagne, exclusive beaches, bespoke items, fine dining and glitzy cars.
Lifestyle was not able to reach Momanyi for an explanation on his source of wealth as his phone was switched off. However, a family member said he knows the young man as a businessman and people are just “jealous” about his success.
Social networking site Instagram is best known for helping people flaunt what they have, and Steve Mbogo appears to have made a home there.
It is through Instagram that he lets the world know his taste for the fine things in life, and by extension how moneyed he is. If it is not a photo of him posing in designer clothes in his tastefully furnished office, it will be him next to a top-of-the-range vehicle or on a scenic destination abroad.
From what he posts online and the lifestyle he leads, Mbogo leaves no doubt that he is a man of means.
The notion was endorsed further during his campaigns ahead of the 2017 General Election where he launched an expensive campaign in his unsuccessful bid to represent Starehe Constituency in Nairobi. Artiste Charles “Jaguar” Njagua, another flashy politician, clinched the seat.
But where does Mbogo’s money come from? He has in the past said it streams in from his businesses that are in various industries including aviation, real estate, mining, and commodity trade. There have never been specifics on these.
However, he was once blasted for claiming to be on the board of aviation firm Fly540. After making that allegation in a TV interview, the airline denounced the claim.
Red-faced, Mbogo must have learnt a bitter lesson. Later on, when he did an interview with a local publication, he did not name any company he deals in, claiming that his partners did not want publicity.
“Usually, I’m silent, but one day my success will shake the whole world,” Mbogo wrote in a caption of a photo uploaded on Instagram in February, where he was smugly seated in a business class aeroplane seat.
His other outrageous claim has been that he will bring Formula One to Kenya, something that remains a dream.
Ken Wycliffe Lugwiri
Mr Ken Wycliffe Lugwiri, aka General DeFao, was last week arrested by Directorate of Criminal Investigation detectives over allegations of having counterfeit dollars.
In police statements, he says he is a businessman who deals in used cars. He also adds that he owns a security company.
Mr Lugwiri, who also uses the name “Lugwili”, had his first major collision with authorities 16 years ago when he was sentenced to nine years in jail on September 9, 2003, for trying to defraud various businessmen while impersonating Alfred Gitonga, who was at one time an aide of former president Mwai Kibaki.
His nine-year sentence, however, translated to three years behind bars because the sentences were to run concurrently.
A month later, he was sentenced to two years in prison for trying to defraud former Kenya Pipeline manager Ezekiel Komen of Sh20,000.
What crowned his activities in town is when he presented himself to the police to deny claims that his Mercedes Benz dumped the body of Mercy Keino on Waiyaki Way on the night of June 7, 2011, when the university student died under mysterious circumstances. He denied any wrongdoing, saying that he only saw the body on the road and swerved to avoid it.
According to his close associates, he got the nickname, General DeFao, from his love of Lingala music.
Don Bosco Gichana
Ahead of the 2007 General Election, a 26-year-old Don Bosco Gichana, a baby-faced man hailing from Kisii County, grabbed media headlines for buying ODM leader Raila Odinga a Hummer vehicle.
The car captured the imagination of Kenyans and soon found its way in political messaging during the heated campaign times, with Raila’s supporters using the symbol of the “hammer”. But after the subsequent 2013 General Election, where he unsuccessfully contested to be the Kitutu Chache South MP, Gichana was arrested in Tanzania after visiting a friend there.
He was locked up at Kisongo Prison for close to five years. In September 2018, he pleaded guilty to charges that included money laundering before a Tanzanian court. As a result, he was handed a five-year jail term and a fine of Sh13.7 million.
A month later, on October 27, he left prison and was received by former Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka and Kapseret MP Oscar Sudi, among other leaders, in his Gusii home.
Before his arrest, Mr Gichana ran several entertainment spots in Nairobi, among them Capri Seven, which was located along Jabavu Road in Kilimani.
His financial muscle was felt when he contested for a parliamentary seat, which he lost to Richard Onyonka, in Kitutu Chache South.
To date, those who were involved in his campaigns have never shied away from bragging how well Gichana paid them for working for him.
Before joining politics, Gichana was the patron of Shabana Football Club.