- Mr Jirongo is a man with properties worth billions of shillings but woefully short of cash: a broke billionaire, unable to pay his debtors.
When the Sh500 note was first released in the early 1990s by the Central Bank, it was nicknamed ‘Jirongo’ because the note was widely dished out in the public by his YK’92 outfit during the 1992 campaigns.
- Ironically, the genesis of his current financial predicaments can be traced to his involvement in the group.
The complexity of Mr Cyrus Jirongo’s deal with the Emirati investors to construct high-end houses in Ruai pretty much sums up the extent of the former MP’s financial misfortunes
Mr Jirongo is a man with properties worth billions of shillings but woefully short of cash: a broke billionaire, unable to pay his creditors, be they banks or his friends.
“He has properties worth billions but his liabilities running into billions as well, and therein lies the problem,” said a source with close knowledge of Mr Jirongo’s financial troubles, but who asked not to be named since he is acting for him in another deal.
In February this year, the Central Bank sold Mr Jirongo’s 103-acre farm in Uasin Gishu for Sh53 million in a bid to recover loans owed to the collapsed Dubai Bank. Through his three companies, Mr Jirongo owed Dubai Bank Sh495 million at the time of its collapse in August 2015.
In October last year, the High Court declared Mr Jirongo bankrupt after he failed to pay a loan of Sh700 million he borrowed through his friend and longtime friend Sammy Boit Kogo.
Mr Jirongo had secured Sh700 million from the National Bank of Kenya (NBK) using properties registered under the names of eight of Mr Kogo’s companies.
He, however, failed to repay the loan and the bank sold the properties on May 22, 2009 through a public auction. Mr Jirongo appealed the High Court’s bankruptcy declaration to enable him to run in the October 26, 2017 repeat presidential election.
Mr Jirongo and Mr Kogo were founders of the infamous Youth for Kanu 1992 group, popularly known as YK‘92, a youth lobby group formed to campaign for President Daniel Moi in that year’s elections.
YK‘92 members are best remembered for their flashy lifestyles which is suspected to have been funded by money looted from state coffers. Over time, the group became a by-word for corruption.
In 2016 Mr Kogo went to court in an attempt to recover a piece of land in Upper Hill, Nairobi, from Mr Jirongo. The latter said he bought the land by acquiring a firm — Soy Developers Limited — from Kogo in 1991.
He claimed in court that Mr Kogo had admitted to being a proxy for Mr Jonathan Moi, a son of former President Daniel arap Moi, who was the actual owner of Soy Developers Limited.
Mr Jirongo said he gave Sh7 million to Mr Moi before using the Upper Hill land to secure a Sh50 million loan from Postbank Credit Limited.
Mr Boit and Mr Moi denied claims that the former president’s son received money from Mr Jirongo or that he is linked to Soy Developers Limited.
The Directorate of Criminal Investigation recommended his prosecution for allegedly forging the land’s documents. However, in January last year, the High Court stopped the prosecution saying the suit, coming 24 years later, appeared malicious. But the court declined to determine whether Mr Jirongo was guilty or innocent in the matter.
Heavily in debt, friends appear to have deserted Mr Jirongo, a fact that he publicly admitted when he spoke two weeks ago at a funeral in Karachuonyo, Homa Bay County.
During the event, which was attended by former Prime Minister Raila Odinga, he claimed that President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto had abandoned him.
“I shall continue being close to the Luo community because even the other day, I visited Raila and told him how the top Jubilee leadership had abandoned me,” said Mr Jirongo.