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Gor Semelang’o: Tycoon Who Wears Two Watches Valued At Ksh500K, Owned Petrokenya Oil Company

The name Gor Semelang’o is not new name in Kenya. He courted controversy with abandon and was known to lead a flashy lifestyle preserved only for the rich and famous. 

Here is the story of the man who surrendered all his salary to the youths during his tenure as Chairman of Youth Enterprise & Development Fund as told by WoK.

Gor Semelang’o

He holds a Master’s degree from the prestigious Utrecht University which is the best rated public university in the Netherlands.

He was appointed by the late President Mwai Kibaki in January 2013 to become the Chairman of the Youth Enterprise and Development Fund.

He was sacked in February 2014 by President Uhuru Kenyatta through a gazette notice that saw him replaced by music producer the late Bruce Odhiambo.

During his tenure at the helm of the Youth Fund, he surrendered all his salary to the youth as reported by the Standard.

Businesses and Flamboyant lifestyle

He was the majority shareholder at Petrokenya Oil Company Limited which he co-owned with President Uhuru Kenyatta’s uncle Paul Gatheca Muhuho.

The businessman sold 45 percent of his shareholding valued at Ksh 4.5 billion to United Arab Emirates-based Company.

The sale meant that Gor would remain with an 8 percent stake automatically relinquishing the majority shareholding of the oil company to Muhoho.

“The shareholder let off 45% of his shares after discussions and agreements,” a local daily reported. 

The businessman owns Talanta Media – a publishing house that owns a tabloid newspaper. During an exclusive interview with the Standard that was published in 2018, he revealed that he wears two watches that are worth Ksh 500,000.

“Time is money, and I take my time seriously. I have businesses in New York and my two watches are set in different time zones,” he explained.

“Many people have asked me why I bother and I have always told them that I’m a very serious businessman. One watch keeps me updated on local time while the other one is set for international business purposes,” he told Heads Up.

The billionaire went on to add that he “like expensive watches from Rado, Montblanc to Swatch. Each one of my watches costs me approximately Sh260,000 ($3,000).” 

He also revealed that he owns luxurious cars such as Range Rovers and his tight security detail follow him in a Prado which acts as a chase car.

New Job

In January 2019, he landed a new international job after being appointed to become an advisor at the Global stage for the Commonwealth security group with its headquarters in Westminster, London. The businessman took to social media to celebrate his new milestone.

“As I accept the role of a Senior Advisor at the Global Stage for the Commonwealth Security group, I can only thank God for his favor and blessings. It’s a huge privilege and an honor and a great responsibility to take on this job and I will do it with everything I have to the best of my ability,” he wrote.

Controversies

In September 2019, a local court found Semelang’o guilty after failing to pay Ksh 3.6 million to lawyer George Miyare of Atonga Miyare & Associates Advocates, who represented him in a case in 2016.

According to Businessdailyafrica, the court directed he be escorted to Industrial Area Prison to serve his one month jail term unless he pays the amount plus interest. Semelang’o would then escape the jail term after finally paying the fees as directed.

Philanthropy

In April 2020 when the country was ravaged by the pandemic, Gor came out to pledge Ksh 25 million to vulnerable families in the slums of Nairobi and parts of Nyanza.

In a statement that he wrote on his Facebook page, he revealed that the money would be used to pay rent for the individuals living in houses that the rent costs below Ksh 5,000.

“This is a personal sacrifice during this coronavirus crisis. I will work with provincial administrators and community leaders in the exercise. I will pay rent for those paying below Ksh 5,000 within informal settlements of Mathare, Kibra, Lang’ata, Ngomongo, Embakasi and Kasarani. A neighbor must confirm that the family has been going through rent distress,” read part of Gor Semelang’o Facebook post.