Moi era powerhouse Hosea Kiplagat dies

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By Kenya Confidential Business Desk, Nairobi – February 7, 2021

Hosea Kiplagat, the politician who was among the key figures in the the former President Daniel Arap Moi’s era, is dead. He was aged 75.

Kiplagat’s family said he passed on at the Karen Hospital in Nairobi where he was rushed for treatment.

“The family of Hosea Mundui Kiplagat wishes to announce his passing on today, 6th February 2021 at 0930 Hrs, Karen Hospital, Nairobi,” family spokesman Lt. Col C.K Mundui said in a statement.

Until 18 years ago, Kiplagat was a household name in Kenya. He seldom missed public functions graced by Moi and as such his name was routinely mentioned during news bulletins on the State-run Kenya Broadcasting Corporation (KBC) radio and television.

He had Moi’s ear and wielded great influence on his political and business decisions. To Moi, he was more than just a nephew. Kiplagat’s prowess as a grassroots mobiliser was unrivalled, making him a huge asset in the political scene and Moi tapped his talent to run the show especially in his Rift Valley backyard.

And with time, Kiplagat’s political and economic stature rose exponentially—a sharp contrast to his earlier days as a lowly remunerated prison warder drawn from the same pool Moi recruited his many years personal assistant Joshua Kulei.

The powerful Moi-era powerhouse died fighting to rescue his business empire including an expansive Karen palatial home and associated company assets over a Ksh378.61 million loan. 

In 1990s, he would proudly take visitors around his Karen compound including a garden implements store he has converted into cash strongroom and stashed it full of local and foreign currency notes in millions. His name featured in the Goldenberg list of shame and was reportedly sacrificed.

The former Kanu operative failed to stop the auctioneers from selling the parcels of land in Eldoret town after a judge ruled that he did not demonstrate how the lender violated his rights by seeking to sell the property to recover the debt.

Documents filed in court show that Kiplagat, through his company Timber Treatment International, took a loan of Ksh275 million from the bank in 2017 and charged 12 properties in Eldoret town.

He later took another loan of Ksh100 million in June 2018 to buy a tractor, importing plant and machinery and financing capital requirements. He charged the same properties. Kiplagat is the chairman of Timber Treatment International.

Justice David Majanja said in as much as the company had pleaded that it had been unable to repay the debt due to the harsh business environment and the Covid-19 pandemic, it failed to show how it would repay the debt.

“In any case, the court cannot compel the bank to accept the company’s proposals to restructure the facilities by restraining it from exercising its legal remedies as this would amount to re-writing the parties’ bargain,” the judge said.

Garam Investments — which is leading the auction—has invited bids despite Kiplagat getting a court order temporarily freezing the sale of the properties. The auction targets Kiplagat’s Karen home that sits on five acres and 11 other pieces of land belonging to the two companies.

The two companies obtained the loan on May 14, 2018 but had failed to repay the money, prompting Bank of India to auction the securities.

Kiplagat, who owned 300 acres of Mau land, had insisted that he obtained the land via lawful presidential fiat.

Last word:

We come to this world with nothing, we leave with nothing but our evils torment our families long after.