Moi's Little Learned PA He Trusted With His Wealth

  • Joshua Kulei served as a private personal secretary to former President Daniel Toroitich Arap Moi and was responsible for his financial dealings.

    In July 2017, a top city lawyer who once represented Moi revealed to Daily Nation that Nicholas Biwott, a close ally to Mzee Moi, looked down upon Kulei for his low education.

    However, Kulei relished this harmless underdog perception that Biwott had about him and was determined to prove wrong those who thought less of him.

    For a former warder, he was diminutive, soft-spoken and deceptively shy. His dour nature cleverly masked a determined ruthlessness and unbridled ambition.

    Former President Daniel Moi’s aide Joshua Kulei in court on January 10, 2019. According to a report by Kroll & Associates, he represented Moi's business interests both locally and internationally.

    A former State House operative during President Moi’s era, who requested anonymity, revealed to the Daily Nation that while the late Mark Too handled Moi's political issues, Kulei took care of the business side of things.

    The extent of their business dealings was brought to light by a private British investigation and security firm, Kroll and Associates that was contracted by the NARC government headed by President Emilio Mwai Kibaki in 2003.

    Kibaki tasked the British firm with tracing and reporting what was alleged as over Ksh309 billion stashed abroad by his predecessor and his closest associates.

    Despite submitting a 106-page report to the government in 2004, the document was not made public until it was leaked in 2007 by Wikileaks- an anti-secrecy website.

    "The following sections proceed in intricate detail, investigating the background, 'modus operandi', business links, financial transactions, business associates, and property holdings, all around the world, of several powerful members of Kenyan society linked to Daniel Arap Moi," the executive summary of the report read.

    It revealed that Kulei represented Moi in over fifty companies cutting across all sectors of the economy, both locally and internationally.

    According to the report, he held major interests in London-based investments, which included a palatial residence in upmarket London, from which his children attended school. Further sources alleged that Kulei had two properties in Surrey, the larger of which were owned by Moi.

    Former President Moi(center) and son Gideon Moi(right) at their Kabarak home. In 2002, Moi's sons accused Joshua Kulei of allegedly withholding property from their father.

    Kulei reportedly used banks in Luxembourg for ex-president Moi's confidential banking. 

    It is believed that he and Moi acquired companies jointly, some of which Kulei used his family name to mask the identity of ownership. For instance, the duo acquired Sian flowers on a 60:40 basis. Sian was derived from Kulei's family name, Chemusian.

    According to the Kroll report, Moi and Kulei co-owned Ngata Flower Farms in Nakuru on a 50:50 basis. The document also stated that Kulei and the president's son, Gideon, each owned 12.5 per cent of Siginon Freight, a transport company, while Kabarak High School owned 75 per cent.

    The report, however, stated that Kulei relinquished most of the property he held on behalf of the former president just before the KANU government was replaced in December 2002.

    It was at this point that he ran into trouble with Moi’s sons, Philip and Gideon, who believed that Kulei had conned their father. 

    “Gideon kept convincing his father that Kulei may have more money than him as a result of using the ex-president’s name,” the Kroll report read.

    In 2012, Daily Nation reported that Kulei was the subject of a court battle that pitted him against Moi and Biwott, over a piece of land in Nairobi that was reportedly worth billions. The two claimed that Kulei, through a company called Belgo Holdings, was holding the land in trust for Moi, accusations the former Moi aide denied.