From hotels to insurance to banks, Njonjo has invested in many sectors of the economy

Charles Njonjo was one of the owners of the Sankara Hotel in Westlands, Nairobi. [Courtesy]

After Charles Mugane Njonjo was declared dead by his doctor at 5 a.m. yesterday, his body was transferred briefly to Lee Funeral Home before being cremated at 10:30 a.m.

Lee Funeral Home was not only the favorite funeral home of Kenya’s first independent Attorney General, it was also one of Njonjo’s many business interests.

The deplorable way in which the bodies of JM Kariuki and criminal lawyer SM Otieno were kept in the town morgue prompted Njonjo to approach John Stuart Lee with the proposal to build a funeral home at Nairobi hospital.

At that time, Njonjo was the president of the Nairobi hospital.

“So we built the current Lee funeral home within the hospital grounds in 1987 and we opened in 1988 as part of the 25 years of the Republic of Kenya independence celebration,” Lee said in a previous interview. .

Njonjo’s investment interests spanned almost every sector of the economy, and most of them, like the Lee Funeral Home where the bodies of wealthy Kenyans have been kept, reflected his preference for the Victorian aristocracy.

He was also one of the owners of the five-star Sankara Hotel in Westlands, Nairobi, which he founded in 2011 with billionaire businessman Baloobhai Patel.

That year, Grenadier Limited won an award in the category of the best new hotel of construction and design in Africa for the Sankara Nairobi.

Besides the five-star hotel, their plans also include a large-scale industrial and commercial project on Mombasa Road as well as plans for a development of upscale 1 billion shillings offices and hotels in the Runda area of ​​Nairobi. .

Njonjo and Patel are shareholders of Grenadier Limited, a private investment company with interests in hotel management, real estate and lottery operations.

Patel is the chairman of Grenadier Limited, the holding company of Sankara Hotel Group, while Njonjo has chaired the Sankara Hotel Group.

Grenadier also owns Larsens Camp located in Samburu County, one of three properties that are part of Wilderness Lodges, the company’s other hotel business.

Lovers of Victorian manners, including the Queen’s Tongue, Safari, and the pinstriped suits that saw him named “Sir Charles Njonjo”, the British-trained lawyer was also fond of breeding.

Charles Njonjo was associated with the Solio Ranch in Laikipia. [Wilberforce Okwiri, Standard]

Njonjo was also associated with the 60,000 acre Solio Ranch in Laikipia. The ranch has 19,000 acres dedicated to private game sanctuary and an additional 45,000 acres for ranching. Cattle are raised for meat. The ranch also owns the luxurious Solio Lodge.

Like many senior government officials in the years after independence, Njonjo was also a major beneficiary of the government’s Africanization program which sought to transfer capital from foreigners to Africans.

In the 1980s, he partnered with Jeremiah Kiereini and other politicians to make a series of acquisitions in Kenyan companies.

Through their investment vehicle, African Liaision and Consultant Services (Alico), they have acquired stakes in companies such as CMC Motors and CFC Holdings, which own CFC Bank (now Stanbic Bank) and CFC Insurance.

He sold his 1.32% stake in CMC Motors for Sh 10.1 million.

In 2014, Njonjo sold his stake in CFC Bank to the Standard Bank Group of South Africa with the bank rebranding to CFC Stanbic Bank (now Stanbic Bank).

Njonjo and other prominent Kenyan shareholders of the bank transferred shares worth 4 billion shillings, which placed them among the top 10 owners of the financial services company. The shares were held through Alico, an investment vehicle that held 40.4 million shares or a 10.2 percent stake in the company.

Besides Njonjo, the other major shareholders of Alico were Jeremiah Kiereini (former head of civil service), Julius Gecau (former CEO of Kenya Power) and the late businessman PK Jani.

Sir Charles Njonjo. [File, Standard]

Former police chief Ben Gethi, former cabinet minister Bruce McKenzie and spy master James Kanyotu also had significant stakes in the company.

CFC Bank owned CFC Life Assurance Company Limited, Heritage Insurance Company and CFC Financial Services Limited, all of which were combined to form CFC Stanbic Holdings.

Heritage Insurance Company has a major regional presence with insurance companies in Tanzania namely Heritage Tanzania Ltd, Strategis Insurance Tanzanian Ltd and Allianz Tanzania Ltd.

In addition to being the GA for over 15 years, he has also served as MP for Kikuyu and most recently President of the East African Wildlife Society.

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