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Meet Ngina Kenyatta, the matriarch of the Kenyatta family’s business empire worth millions of dollars



Ngina Kenyatta is the matriarch in charge of the Kenyatta family’s vast business empire. She leads a business empire that is associated with popular commercial brands and blue-chip companies.

The business empire came to have shares in Kenya’s Commercial Bank of Africa (CBA); Brookside Dairy, Kenya’s largest dairy company; and chic hotel chain, Heritage Hotels East Africa. The business empire is also linked to Media Max Company, which owns K24 TV, Kameme Radio and The People newspaper.

The empire also includes thousands of acres of prime land across Kenya that was acquired by her late husband and first president of Kenya, Mzee Jomo Kenyatta, in the ‘60s and ‘70s. The family reportedly acquired those lands under a settlement transfer fund scheme that allowed government officials to acquire land from the British colonial administration at cheap prices.

Forbes reported that the 89-year-old controls some 500,000 acres of Kenyan land which have an average price of $1,000 per acre. According to the BBC, there is no reliable estimate of the Kenyatta family’s net worth. However, Nigeria’s Ventures magazine in a publication in 2013 put her net worth at $1 billion. Forbes profiled her as one of the 10 millionaires to watch in Africa in 2012.

Mama Ngina was born in 1933 into an elite Kenyan family. Her father was a colonial chief, Muhoho wa Gathecha. She got married to Jomo Kenyatta, a commoner, when she was only 18 years old. Her husband was arrested just one year into their marriage in reaction to the Mau Mau insurgency, leaving her alone to raise their first child, Kristina Wambui. She reunited with her husband after he completed his seven-year term.

In 2021, the leaked Pandora Papers revealed the tight grip Mama Ngina has on her family’s family financial affairs. The papers identified her as a major beneficiary of vast offshore accounts.

“The Kenyattas’ offshore investments, including a company with stocks and bonds worth $30m (£22m), were discovered among hundreds of thousands of pages of administrative paperwork from the archives of 14 law firms and service providers in Panama and the British Virgin Islands (BVI) and other tax havens,” the BBC cited the Pandora Papers as saying.

She was named as the first beneficiary of a foundation called Varies, set up in 2003 in Panama. The paper also said Mama Ngina has an offshore company – Milrun International Limited – which was incorporated in the British Virgin Islands. Through the activities of the company, she was able to buy an apartment in central London, which was until recently rented by British Labour MP Emma Ann Hardy. The property is now estimated to be worth close to $1.3m.



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