Amos Ngonjo is an oil, transport and logistics, and real estate, businessman. He is the owner of Bonfied Group – a leading provider of clearing and forwarding services, transport and logistics, lifting services, construction, real estate and professional advisory services in Kenya and the region.
The reclusive tycoon is among the earliest occupants of the Vipingo Ridge residential project which is dubbed “Coast’s Muthaiga”. And like many other tycoons in the country, Ngonjo has managed to keep a low profile despite his wealth.
Ngonjo is also a key player in Kenya’s leather tanning industry having served as the chairman of the Kenya Leather Development Council. Here is his story as told by WoK.
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The tycoon through his company Bonfied Group has diversified his portfolio to include various sectors of the Kenyan economy. The company is an industry leader in transport and logistics, construction, real estate, clearing and forwarding, and most recently, leather tanning.
Ngonjo who is based in Nairobi, is said to have founded the company in 1997 and currently boasts over 200 employees according to a report by datanyze.
Over the years, Bonfide Group has grown consistently into a regional conglomerate with a significant network of partners in East and Central Africa. The company’s customers include local and multinational corporations in the private sector as well as government corporations and ministries.
The Vipingo Ridge residential project was undertaken by Centum Investment and has since attracted some of the country’s wealthiest men and women. Ngonjo was not left behind in grabbing a piece of the Coastal Muthaiga.
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Located along the Mombasa-Malindi highway, Ngonjo’s vista overlooks rows of sisal plantations and a segment of the Kilifi County coastline.
The vista boasts a serene environment which has well-manicured lawns and a state-of-the-art golf course.
“I came for a golf tournament and fell in love with the place, not so much because of the game but due to the quiet atmosphere,” he says.
Though he did not reveal how much the house cost, the multi-million mansion rests on two acres of land. the nine-bedroomed house has a swimming pool on the upper deck. According to the Standard, the house also has a mini-movie theatre inside.
The lawn can easily accommodate up to 800 guests at a time.
In December 2021, Ngonjo was ordered by the Environment and Lands Deputy Registrar Edina Angima to pay Ksh4.7 million in a ghost golf course project deal.
Angima ruled that Ngonjo should pay his clients Ksh600,000 and another Ksh200,000 by the end of December as part of the Ksh4.7 million debt. She noted that it had taken long to repay the money since the settlement of the case in 2019.
Ngonjo who had been arrested at the time, was released on a Ksh100,000 cash bail according to a report by The Star. He was arrested after he delayed in paying the debt after a court settlement in 2019.
The tycoon was sued by his clients James Gichuhi and his wife Joan Wairimu who sought a refund for their Ksh2.5 million they paid him for a real estate project that never took off. Through their lawyer Kenneth Maina, they sought to have the contract between them and Ngonjo terminated after the golf resort project failed to start.
“My clients are seeking damages for breach of contract and cost of the petition,” the lawyer said.
Ngonjo told the court that he had sent a payment plan to the compalinants but they rejected it since it would have taken 22 months to clear the settlement. He had offered to pay an initial amount of Ksh600,000 and subsequent payments of Ksh200,000 per month.
Gichuhi had even doubted the commitment by Ngonjo to pay the money as proposed, noting that the case took a long time to be concluded. It was halted when the defendant sought an out-of-court settlement that they later declined to honour.
In the 2019 civil suit, Ngonjo and two others, namely Ramadhan Maulid Juma and Simon Matara Gichuhi, who are bonafide directors of Loldaiga Country Homes and Golf Resort Limited were ordered to pay the Ksh4. million debt.
Gichuhi and his wife had bought two residential plots, one measuring one acre for Ksh1 million and the second a half acre at Ksh1.5 million in 2012. They made the purchase after Ngonjo had advertised the sale of plots on a golf course in Nanyuki.
The couple sought a refund of their money and filed a suit after they established that the construction of the houses was yet to start because a golf course had to be constructed first. They said they only got verbal promises from the defendant that the project would take off but it didn’t.
Gichuhi had used his pension money to pay Ngonjo for the ghost project. He also convinced his wife to seek a loan and invest in the project.
In the judgment delivered by the court presided over by judge M.C. Oundo orders were issued to have the contract between the two parties rescinded.
The court also gave orders for a refund of the purchase price to the complainants of Ksh2.5 million, nominal damages of Ksh1.5 million for breach of contract and other amounts catering for costs of suits and interests all amounting to Ksh4.7 million.