At the start of 2020, Citizen TV aired an expose detailing how Goldenscape Greenhouses boss Peter Wangai Muriithi defrauded clients their money to the tune of billions of shillings.
In the exposé, a total of 53 people who claim that they invested in the company lodged complaints with the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) since the exposé aired on the prime time news bulletin of Wednesday, March 4, 2020.
Muriithi was charged with 360 criminal charges, contained in 18 different files.
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Later that month, the DCI arrested Wangai but he pleaded not guilty to 21 counts of fraud-related charges.
“Wangai, through his company, lured investors to invest in greenhouses that were to be set up in Ol Kalou, Nyahururu and other places which turned out to be a fraudulent investment deal,” the statement by DCI read in part.
Prior to his tribulations, Muriithi appeared on various television shows detailing how he had built a multi-million empire from scratch. Here is his story as told by Wok.
Background & Education
Peter Wangai Muriithi was born to a family of three in Nyandarua County. He was raised by a single mother and braved an impoverished childhood to achieve his dreams.
He was determined to lift his family out of poverty and always outperformed his peers in school. This earned him a scholarship from well-wishers.
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According to his LinkedIn profile, Muriithi attained a HUtah State University where he pursued L
Struggle & breakthrough
After completing his studies, Muriithi failed to land a job and returned to his village where he began selling seedlings. He would scale trees, get seeds, prepare them and propagate them before selling them for Ksh100 each.
“To start a nursery is not a had job. You get the seeds from trees. For the tubes, with Ksh100, I would get about 100 of them. I did menial jobs to get the one hundred bob to go buy them,” he said during an interview with K24’s Destiny Shapers in March 2018.
On some days, he failed to earn a coin and would go to bed hungry, but he persevered.
He used to advertise his seedlings everywhere. He majored in internet advertising and his big break came when he landed a landscape architecture job and he was paid Ksh500,000.
Despite his business stabilising, he still faced a number of challenges before it fully took off.
“I pumped in all my money there and I also went for loans. Those loans were very hectic for me to pay back but I did it,” he narrated.
The company grew to venture into various projects, selling tree and fruit seedlings and also agriculture, through Goldenscape Greenhouses.
Goldenscape Greenhouses scam
Muriithi sold his Agriculture idea through the internet with promises of how people could run greenhouses through their smartphones and computers. Initially, the idea looked successful because early investors recouped unbelievable returns on their investments exactly as they had been promised.
When the investment began in 2017, investors were only required to pay seed capital of Ksh380,000 and earn a Ksh275,000 profit after just seven months. The first inestors seemingly received 145% in profits by year-end.
The deal was so good that it attracted investors from the United States, United Kingdom and the Gulf States who all wanted a piece of the lucrative venture.
Fast-forward to March 2020, the investors some of whom had never met Muriithi filed complaints that they had been cheated out of their money running into billions of shillings. After the expose’ came out, they gathered at Uhuru Park as they sought to have him arrested.
In June 2021, the High Court froze Muriithi’s properties, pending the determination of a case filed by the Assets Recovery Agency (ARA).
Justice James Wakiaga ordered a caveat to be placed against 15 parcels scattered in Laikipia and Kajiado counties, six vehicles and five motorcycles belonging to Muriithi and his companies.