(Businessman and billionaire James Philip Maina Ndegwa)
Until Friday January 3, 2020, Gideon Moi was only known for his senatorship and being the powerful and demigod son of Former President Daniel Toroitich Arap Moi and it ended there.
Billionaire James Philip Maina Ndegwa on the other hand, was not known to ordinary Kenyans even though he has been the household name in various Government agencies and parastatals and belongs to the “system”.
For starters, the wealthy James P.M. Ndegwa is the chairman of NIC Bank which recently merged with CBA bank to form the new NCBA Bank.
It’s at the NCBA Group where the Kenyatta and Philip Ndegwa families command the highest stakes. James Ndegwa and the kenyatta sits in the same board. In short, the powerful Ndegwa family does business with both the Moi and Kenyatta families.
He is also the Chairman of First Chartered Securities Limited and a director of several companies. He also served as the Managing Director of Lion of Kenya Insurance Company until 2003.
Now the two are known to the general public thanks to their link to the Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) scam.
Two companies namely Mitchell Cotts which is associated with Senator Gideon Moi, James Ndegwa and Nairobi Inland Container Terminal (NICT) associated with Saitoti, Kulei and Nyachae families were last year unfairly awarded tender to construct peripheral cargo storage facilities and provide leasing facilities on behalf of KPA next to the inland container depot(ICD) which is based in Nairobi.
The congestion was created after the government realised that the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) freight service was not doing well and made a decision that forced all inland cargo to be cleared in Nairobi.
As a result, container traffic on the SGR shot up by four times, with the ICD receiving up to seven trains of cargo every day from just one when the freight service was launched in December 2017.
At the time, the ICD could only handle 15,000 TEUs, and this led to clearance delays.
To calm the nerves of the big transporters who lost business after the SGR launched its operations, the Ministry of Transport and its agencies have been handing contracts to firms related to big transport companies, as an alternative to lost revenues in a bid to reduce resistance to the Jubilee government’s pet project. Last year, truckers were up in arms and held protests in Mombasa to oppose the directive that forced importers to only use the SGR for cargo destined for Nairobi and beyond.
Baringo Senator Gideon Moi, NCBA banker James Philip Maina Ndegwa, KPA MD Daniel Manduku, KRA commissioner for customs Kevin Safari, KRA chief manager legal John Gathatwa and licence manager Peter Nganga have already been to the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) to shed light on the matter. James Philip Maina Ndegwa went on Monday and Senator Gideon Moi went on Wednesday. Both are linked to Mitchell Cotts.
Also, Philip Obandah Arungah, a majority shareholder at Urgent Cargo Handling Limited and the owner of NICT Nairobi Limited, that owns 50 per cent stake in Nairobi Inland Cargo Terminal Limited was questioned at DCI headquarters on Wednesday.
The Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) now thinks the congestion could have been artificially created in order to force KPA to seek alternative storage facilities for importers, whose containers have not been cleared within 30 days.
As a result, importers whose cargo delays have to pay both KPA and the two private storage firms.
Mitchell Cotts and NICT have since last year been offering extra storage space for cargo, whose clearance has delayed through a controversial arrangement that has resulted in complaints by traders.
Protocol dictates that cargo imported from overseas has to undergo a Pre-Export Verification of Conformity to Standards (PVOC) evaluation in their source countries before it can be cleared and released by relevant port authorities.
This is supposed to make it faster to clear cargo once it lands in Kenya but, for some reason, this has failed to happen.
A decree issued by President Kenyatta last May, when he made an impromptu visit to the ICD, has never been followed and the cargo issues are yet to be resolved.
While the two, Senator Gideon Moi and James Ndegwa, have distanced themsel as from Mitchell Cotts company, it’s turning out that the firm is linked to dozen corporate entities that own one another.
Report links billionaire businessman and banker James Philip Maina Ndegwa to at least six of the firms that own one another.
According to local dailies, at the very top of the food chain are companies linked to Mr Nyachae, Mr Moi and the widow of former Interior Minister George Saitoti.
There are at least 12 firms at the companies registry that have the Mitchell Cotts name. However, Mitchell Cotts Limited, appears as the mother company sitting at the apex.
Mitchell Cotts Limited is somehow owned by four other companies and one individual shareholder, most of whom are related in one way or the other, namely; High Trees Limited, whose shareholding remains mysterious to date. High Trees owns 267,272 shares in Mitchell Cotts Limited.
The second company shareholder in Mitchell Cotts Limited is First Chartered Securities Limited, whose chairman is Mr Ndegwa. First Chartered owns 133,636 ordinary shares in Mitchell, the mother company.
But the biggest shareholder in the company is Mitchell Cotts Investments Limited, which has 534,544 shares in its name.
The fourth corporate entity is Makimwa Consultants Limited owning 133,636 ordinary shares in the company.
The only individual shareholder in the firm is a Dr Christopher Walter Obura, who owns one share.
But who are the faces behind the aforementioned companies?
Well, it is reported that First Chartered Securities Limited is owned partly by James Philip Maina Ndegwa and Assets Managers Limited, which is owned in part by Simeon Nyachae and his family through Sansora Investments Limited.
Mitchell Cotts Investments Limited also owns Mitchell Cotts Kenya Limited, and the web continues. James Philip Maina Ndegwa is also a director at Mitchell Cotts Kenya Limited alongside Andrew Ndegwa, Duncan Nderitu Ndegwa, Anthony Peter Wainaina Kamau, Patrick Kithinji Mugambi and Daniel Kipsang Tanui.
Daniel Kipsang Tanui is a director at Mitchell Cotts Freight Kenya Ltd. He is the managing director of Mitchell Cotts Freights Limited.
He previously worked with Siginon Freight Limited, associated with the Moi family, as divisional manager before joining Mitchell Cotts Freight.
Many billionaires and shadow businesses who do not want their businesses known hide their investments in layers of companies with one owning the other to make it harder to lift the corporate veil.