By Prudence Minayo
The late Gideon Mwiti thrived on controversy. To his constituent, he was known as Livondo-named after Stanley Livondo who was known to dish out money with abandon and to others he was Madoff. Bernard Madoff was the infamous American swindler who was accused and sentenced to 150 years in prison for operating the biggest ponzi scheme ever in US history.
The former parliamentarian was known for his lavish lifestyle but kept his personal life private.
Gideon Mwiti Irea was born on 6th December 1960 and died on 25th July 2021.
Mwiti attended Ruiga Primary School in Meru before proceeding to Meru High School. He graduated with a Bachelor of arts in Community Development from Daystar University.
In the 80s, he worked as a teacher before getting into the world of business.
In the 2013 general elections, he won the Imenti Central parliamentary seat through the Kenya Alliance Party.
In the 2017 general elections, he vied for the seat but lost to Moses Kirima who ran on a Jubilee party ticket. After the defeat, he announced that he was retiring from politics to join the corporate world. He also congratulated Moses Kirima and president Uhuru Kenyatta for their win and called for a dialogue between NASA and Jubilee.
Mwiti was a rich man who owned a number of properties, businesses and expensive cars. He was also the owner of Havana bar in Westlands. He once said he used to make up to Ksh 300,000 a day from the bar and drank Martel, one of the most expensive alcohols in the world. Later, he said he closed down the bar and stopped drinking after realizing alcohol, whether expensive or not, causes harm to many lives.
The former Member of Parliament was at one point nearly declared bankrupt. A report by the Standard in May 2020, said he was considering the possibility of being bankrupt after a local bank was tasked with the administration of his estate. A receiver manager was to be in charge of his estate and could either run the estate or sell it to pay off debts.
He also faced the risk of losing his multi-million dollar estate after the high court ruled it should go into receivership over a Ksh6.1 million debt.
During his first term in office, he came into the limelight after being accused of raping a married journalist at his office in Westlands. The woman said the then MP was in the company of a doctor who forcibly took her blood sample to test for HIV before forcing himself on her. He was released on a Ksh100,000 bond and two separate tests carried out on the accuser. The tests showed there was no sexual content between her and Mwiti.
The late politician was accused of operating pyramid schemes. He was linked to Akiba micro-finance, Kenya Business Sacco and Kenya Land Sacco. Kenya Land Sacco promised investors prime land around the country only to close down after it was alleged that Mwiti and his bank signatories emptied the bank accounts rendering the financial institution bankrupt. Akiba micro-finance on the other hand, went down in 2005 leaving behind a trail of misery. In 2008, Kenya Business Sacco went under with investors money as well.
The three schemes were not the first he operated. In the early 1990s, he began a scheme called Professional and Business community Sacco (PABCO) at the Nacico plaza near Machakos bus station. He lured many investors and two years later closed shop with millions of investors’ money. The office was also closed down due to unpaid rents and Mwiti disappeared with all efforts to trace him bearing no fruits. He resurfaced in 2004 with Akiba.
The 57 year old former legislator succumbed to diabetes related complications on 25 July 2021.