By Prudence Minayo
Paul Kobia is a Kenyan businessman, investor, self styled motivational speaker and aspiring politician with a rather dubious reputation. He hails from Tigania area in Meru county and has been very vocal on a number of issues, especially in regards to politics. The flamboyant businessman has been featured severally in the media for all the wrong reasons including fraudulent allegations. He also goes by a Congolese name, Ilunga Ngoel, which he claims was a nickname given to him by former president of the Democratic Republic of Congo. His other alias is Prezda.
He was born on the 27th February 1967.
Several online publications state he has been married more than once. According to Tuko, Kobia is currently married to the pretty Christine Njage who is the complete opposite of her husband when it comes to courting controversies. Kobia has has four children. His son Geoffrey Kobia unsuccessfully bid for the Nairobi gubernatorial seat in the 2013 general elections.
In an interview with K24 years ago, he revealed that he is a businessman who has a mining field in Congo. He also added that he dealt with acquiring and selling gemstones.
Apart from business, he has stated his desire to hold a political office in the country. He was a supporter of the Jubilee Party during the 2017 plebiscite and had declared his interest in running for the senatorial seat. While this must not have gone according to plan, he still wishes to vie for a position in the future.
According to Kenya-Today, Kobia was a priest in Tanzania.
In 2011, the late President of Democratic Republic of Congo Joseph Kabila, accused him of being among the people involved in the theft of 2.5 tons of gold amounting to about Sh8 billion. The United Nations also named him a suspect in the illegal smuggling of gold from DRC.
In 2015, his name was linked to the untimely death of Fidel Odinga, the son of ODM leader Raila Odinga. Some accused him of being behind Fidel’s death. He denied the claims saying that he was a friend to Fidel and would never have done anything to harm him despite their political differences.
There have been numerous reports linking him to fraudulent activities where he purports to sell gold to unsuspecting buyers only for him to disappear after receiving payment. None of the allegations have been proven so far.
About two years ago, some of his accounts were frozen. Barclays bank accused him of failing to declare the source of his wealth which went against the bank’s regulations. After reviewing his business, the bank informed him of the decision to close his accounts with them.
In 2019, he was arrested in relation to a Ksh170 million gold scam involving a Dubai national. His home in Riverside Drive was raided by detectives from the DCI and a number of items confiscated including:
- A wooden Central Bank of Kenya Stamp.
- 7 suspected gold nuggets
- 6 motor vehicles
- Money Counting Machine
- ETR Machine
- Thermo Scientific Arton Analyser
Together with 13 others arrested with him, he was released on a Ksh100,000 bail pending investigation. The court also said they had no compelling reasons to retain him or the people accused alongside him.
In July 2021, he was to face prosecution over misuse of firearms.