Joshua Kulei: The Prison Warder Turned Billionaire

By Isaac Blessings

The late Daniel Arap Moi was the the longest serving president in the history of Kenya having been in power for 24 years. During his tenure at the helm of Kenya’s leadership, those who were close to the strongman made a fortune.

In this article, WoK brings you the story of Joshua Kulei – Moi’s personal assistant turned billionaire.

Joshua Kulei’s journey

Joshua Kulei was born and raised in Rift valley province. He came from a humble background and after clearing his secondary education, he resorted to doing menial jobs to make ends meet. He later got a job as a warder where he used to take and supervise prisoners to work in the Home Affairs minister’s farm and compound. This is where he met Moi in 1978 as he was performing his duties. The two struck up a conversation and became friends. When Moi later became president, he carried Kulei with him to become his personal assistant since he was the only friend he could trust with his secrets.

Also Read: Ibrahim Ambwere: The Billionaire Who Offered To Pay Teachers Delayed Salaries

The Breakthrough and Success

Immediately Moi became president, Kulei knew that his life and that of the famous ‘Tugen Boys Club’ had changed for the better. While the late Mark Too handled political matters, Kulei took care of the financial and business side of things. It is reported that the two accumulated vast land and heavily invested in the agriculture, real estate, hospitality, tourism and banking sectors. The investments were spread across the country and some overseas. This information was first revealed by a private British investigation and security firm – Kroll and associates. The company was contracted by the NARC Regime headed by President Emilio Mwai Kibaki in 2003. The government tasked the firm with the responsibility of tracing the allegedly over Ksh 309 billion stashed abroad by the former government members. The firm later submitted a 106 –page report a year later although it wasn’t made public until in 2007 when it was leaked by Wikileaks.

Also Read: Zehrabanu Janmohamed: The Senior Lawyer Managing  Moi’s Family Billions

Companies and Properties owned by Joshua Kulei

The report revealed that Kulei represented Moi in over fifty companies cutting across all sectors of the economy both locally and abroad. The investments included a palatial residence in upmarket London from which his children attended school. He also had bank accounts in Luxembourg for Moi’s confidential banking. It was also reported that the duo acquired companies jointly, some of which Kulei used his family names to hide the ownership’s identity. For example, they acquired Sian flowers on a 60:40 basis and the name Sian was derived from Kulei’s surname – Chesian.

The document also showed that the two owned Ngata Flower farms in Nakuru on a 50:50 basis. He-together with Gideon Moi owned 12.5 percent each of Signon Freight and 75 percent of Kabarak High School. Kulei and Moi co-owned over 200 prime houses in Kenya, a Ksh 600 million house in Eaton Park, Surrey and a Ksh 300 million flat in Lowndes Square, London. He also owns 38 percent of Standard Media Group.

Also Read: Moi High School-Kabarak Principal, Performance, Alumni And Contacts 

One of his most successful companies is the Sovereign Group. The company has interests in Agribusiness, Real Estate, hospitality, tourism, ICT, technology, mining, logistics, insurance, media, education and security. Some of the companies associated with the Sovereign Group include Regent Group, SPC Properties, Kenya Agrotech, Intercontinental hotel, Maasai Ostrich resort, Merica hotel Kenya Bixo resort, Regional Logistics center, C tea, Adility, Quality Quarries, Nine One One Group, Crater Lake Sanctuary, Mobile World (K) Limited, Liaison, Fidelity insurance and Sunshine Secondary School