Kenyatta family empire is on the rise and expanding to at a much faster rate than any other business entity in Africa. The family has been singled out for positioning themselves to take over the management and running of Kenya’s premier airport, Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) through Kenya Airways (KQ).
During a parliamentary committee sitting of the powerful Public Investment Committee (PIC) the Kenya Airports Authority Managing Director Johnny Andersen was put on the spot over an obvious conflict of interests when the chairman of Kenyatta family owned Commercial Bank of Africa, Isaac Awuondo who also doubles as KAA board chairman.
Awuondo a long time Kenyatta family banker and special advisor is also the CEO of CBA Group which together with NIC Bank is owed Ksh 5billion by Kenya Airways and that is where the link is drawn from.
The airline owes CBA Group Sh3.1 billion, NIC Sh2.1 billion, Equity Bank Sh5.2 billion, National Bank Sh3.5 billion, Co-operative Bank (Sh3.3 billion, DTB Sh2.1 billion and KCB Group Sh2.1 billion.
Andersen was pressed hard by MPs to disclose the powerful forces behind the airport deal but declined, saying he did not have details.
“I cannot speculate on the reason behind the deal or the faces behind it. We were approached by Kenya Airways on this matter and also got a Cabinet memo seeking that we manage the process,” he said.
CBA and NIC have started a process of merger of all their business entities which will create a superbank in the country.
KAA’s management has been greatly influenced by the Kenyatta family which seems to have a strong interest in its management. The previous long time chairman, George Muhoho, is President Uhuru Kenyatta’s uncle.
From the PIC sitting yesterday and through a careful delivery by the controversial Nandi Hills MP Alfred Keter, it was clear that President Uhuru’s hands were all over attempts to irregularly take over Jomo Kenyatta International Aiport (JKIA).
It was clear that Isaac Awuondo saw that the struggling national carrier Kenya Airways (KQ) will not be able to fully repay the Ksh 5 billion owed to NIC and CBA and saw the need to use the proposed JKIA management by KQ as a way of clearing the debts owed to the two banks, without a clear roadmap on what will happen to the national carrier and JKIA after that.
MPs also raised questions about the ownership of KQ with rumours flying around that KQ actually owns only 3 planes while the rest is owned by a group of individuals with connections to State House.
Furthermore, PIC was informed that KAA Act. Cap 395 prohibits private ownership of airports.
KAA MD Jonny Andersen confirmed that Kenya Airways owes CBA Group Sh3.1 billion, NIC Sh2.1 billion, Equity Bank Sh5.2 billion, National Bank Sh3.5 billion, Co-operative Bank Sh3.3 billion, DTB Sh2.1 billion and KCB Group Sh2.1 billion.
President Uhuru Kenyatta is known to have deep interests in aviation with companies where he has interests said to have exclusive rights over certain products and services in the sector.
Some of the products known to be exclusively supplied by President Uhuru’s companies include the auxiliary powering units which are used to run plans while on the ground.
Kenyans have questioned why President Uhuru can claim to fight corruption when all signs are that his family is still engaging in corruption.