Peter Munga: Billionaire Who Served as Minister Michuki's Handyman

  • Former Equity Bank Chairman Peter Munga speaking to the press.
    Former Equity Bank Chairman Peter Munga speaking to the press.
  • Every successful person has a grass-to-grace story and for former Equity Bank Chairman Peter Munga, the tale was a rather heartbreaking one.

    In a sit-down with The Standard in 2017, the tycoon disclosed that his childhood was problematic especially after his father got detained in 1952 after the colonial government declared a state of emergency while he was a primary school student.

    "We left the village to go and help my father with business in Nairobi, but things changed after he was committed to jail. Fortunately, an Italian priest, Father Clemenceau offered me a scholarship that enabled me to enroll in Standard Four at Tuuthu Primary in Murang'a," he stated.

    After passing his primary school examination, he got admitted to Mugoiri Intermediate School but failed to get in for lack of Ksh250 and was forced to trade places with a child from a wealthy background.

    Equity Bank Billionaires Peter Munga (left) and James Mwangi.
    Equity Bank Billionaires Peter Munga (left) and James Mwangi.

    In his new school, Gaichanjuri High School in Kangema, Munga often had to work menial jobs to supplement his school fees and at some point, he had to sneak out in order to land the jobs.

    At the time, he used to work as a handyman to former Minister John Michuki who back then worked as a colonial administrator.

    "He was a district officer and I admired him so much that I said I wanted to be like him. That informed my decision to join the Kenya Institute of Administration after secondary school," he stated.

    Despite the inspiration, his mother struggled, moving from place to place looking for food. This provided a bigger longing for him to get out of poverty.

    He did odd jobs and at some point got hired as a casual labourer in a hotel that was started by billionaires Gerald Gikonyo and Gerishon Kirima who had started out as hawkers a few years before.

    He diligently worked hard until he founded Equity Bank, Kenya's largest lender by customer base, with a meager Ksh 5,000.

    In August 2018, the mogul narrated that he started the bank, which was called Equity Building Cooperative Society at the time, in Murang'a in 1984 and had a staff of five.

    “We started from nowhere and that’s why I have decided to take the new chairman to where we began, to understand the bank’s philosophy better.

    "I had only Ksh 5,000 when starting Equity Bank, there were many people with more money but could not apply the knowledge," he stated.

    The initial office contained a boardroom that served as the office of the chairman of the institution’s manager. The room was turned into a museum of the bank.

    Besides serving as the chairman of Equity Bank, for which he was paid Ksh50 million as a send-off package after his retirement in 2018, Munga made his wealth through his other company Plum LLP which had shares at Britam.

    In 2018, he sold the 13 per cent stock he owned at Britam which culminated to Ksh4.7 billion.

    Former Equity Bank Chairman Peter Munga.
    Former Equity Bank Chairman Peter Munga.