Be Energy: The Multi-Billion Oil Company Owned By The Odinga Family

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Be Energy And Other Multi-Billion Businesses Owned By Raila Odinga
Collage image of ODM Leader Raila Odinga and a Be Energy Filling Station. |Courtesy| The Nation/Be Energy|

Former Prime Minister and ODM Leader Raila Odinga is among the wealthiest individuals in the country, boasting investments in various sectors of the Kenyan economy.

The former premier and members of his family are among the most affluent Kenyans in the country, and own several properties where he is a director alongside some of his relatives.

Some of the companies owned by Odinga include; Be Energy, Pan African Petroleum Company, and East Africa Spectre, among others. Here are the companies as compiled by WoK.

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Be Energy

According to a report by The Citizen, Odinga and his family own a stake in Be Energy – a multinational oil company founded by Saudi Arabian tycoon Sheikh Abdul Kader Al Bakri.

The company first entered the Kenyan market as Bakri Energy Ltd before it was rebranded to Be Energy. A report by the Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (EPRA) indicates that the company is the seventh largest oil retailer in Kenya and controls a market share of about 3.1 per cent.

According to Business Registration Service seen by Nation Newsplex, Odinga and his family own 2,801 shares (35 per cent) in Be Energy whereas the Bakri family owns 5,201 shares (65) through their company, International Energy World S.A.

The company exports petrol, diesel, kerosene, jet fuel and oil lubricants to South Sudan, Uganda, Burundi, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. It has storage facilities in Mombasa, Nairobi, Nakuru, Eldoret and Kisumu. It also has staffers at Busia and Malaba border points for clearing petroleum products for exports.

“Be Energy is the sole distributor of Q8 lubricants from the Kuwait Petroleum Corporation, the best and most dominant brand name within Europe and Middle East. Q8 brand is distinguished for its absolute standards of quality worldwide. Immense technical support is also enjoyed by Be Energy on its Q8 brand of lubricants,” Be Energy says on its website.

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Be Energy also has a fuelling facility at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA), from where it sells jet fuel to Kenya Airways, KLM, Martin Air, Air France and African Express.

“The company has set up an ultramodern Jet A-1 fuelling facility at [JKIA] to ensure first-class experience to our customers. Be Energy Limited is one of the few players in the industry that has presence at the airport.”

“In partnership with Kuwait International, Be Energy Limited secures the highest standards of safety in its operations at the airport, winning the confidence of major airlines including Kenya Airways, African Express, Marin Air, Air France, KLM, Egypt Air, Air Saudi Airlines, CargoLux among others.”

Pan African Petroleum Company 

The Odinga family is also linked to the ownership of Pan African Petroleum Company which is estimated to have an annual turnover of over half a billion shillings.

In his LinkedIn profile, the former prime minister’s son, Raila Odinga Jr lists himself as an owner of Pan African Petroleum Company.

According to The Citizen, Pan African Petroleum Company is owned by Raila Odinga Jr (25,000 shares), Rosemary Adhiambo Odinga (50,000 shares), Winnie Irmgard Odinga (25,000 shares), Elija Bonyo Oburu (125,000 shares), Wenwa Akinyi Oranga (25,000 shares) and Kango Enterprises (250,000 shares).

Spectre East Africa

The former premier is the founder of a multi-billion company, Spectre East Africa Limited.

In 1971, he founded the Standard Processing Equipment Construction and Erection Limited (later renamed East Africa Spectre Ltd). The Company specialized in the manufacture of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) cylinders.

However, the company faced major hurdles especially in the 1980s following the imprisonment of Raila Odinga. In fact, some oil companies became jittery in doing business with the Odinga company for fear of government frustration.

In 1988, East Africa Spectre Limited entered into a financial agreement with Industrial Development Bank (now IDB capital) that saw them acquire a new factory along Mombasa Road. The new factory was meant to manufacture new cylinders while the old ones would be used for revalidation. The company however faced challenges in operating two factories and decided to merge operations under the new company.

In 2014, Odinga pumped Ksh300 million into a giant oil depot in Embakasi, Nairobi. The 25 cubic meter depot has a capacity for storage of 10 million litres each of petrol and diesel and 5 million litres of kerosene.

According to reports, East Africa Spectre enjoys the monopoly of being the only private company in Kenya that supplies cooking gas cylinders to petroleum companies.

Acquisition and sale of Spectre International (Kisumu Molasses)

On several occasions, Odinga has been accused of fraudulently acquiring Spectre International, a molasses plant that produced ethanol fuel. Odinga had always maintained that he acquired the plant in a fair, transparent manner.

The company was established in the 1980s by the government but soon became a white elephant prompting then president Daniel Moi to abandon it as it was running into losses and debts. In order to revive the Kisumu-based factory, Robert Ouko who was a cabinet minister aggressively advocated for the government to resuscitate it back to life.

Ouko had even sought a foreign investor to bring the ailing firm back to life. However, before this was realized, Ouko was assassinated in February 1990.

In mid 90’s Odinga’s family is alleged to have acquired the molasses plant through a bidding process even though it was until the next century that the company resumed operations.

The company however faced a major setback after the collapse of Mumias Sugar Company which supplied molasses. In 2019, it was reported that the Odinga family sold the company to billionaire Jasmant Rai at a whooping Ksh7 billion.

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