How Muthama Became a Billionaire After Fight Between 2 Americans
Machakos Senator Johnson Muthama could perhaps be described as the luckiest man on the face of the earth. A class seven dropout who managed to accumulate so much wealth defying the society’s mantra that Education is the key to success.
Mr Muthama owns a multi-billion mining company, Rockland Kenya Limited, which was practically served to him on a silver platter. A young and little-educated Muthama is reported to have visited his uncle who worked in the Taita Taveta mines where he started working as a tea boy.
In 1974, American Geologist John Saul and his partner Eliot Miller discovered ruby (a precious gemstone) in Taita Taveta — a finding that would later emerge to be one the largest in the world.
The two American nationals faced major setbacks when high-ranking Government officials discovered that ‘mzungus’ were milling millions in their own land. This was led by then President Mzee Jomo Kenyatta.
Interestingly, Saul and Miller had probably foreseen this and strategically sold shares of their mining company, Taita International Limited, to then Home Affairs minister Daniel arap Moi,Tourism’s J.L. Shako, and Natural Resources’ Odongo Omamo in the hope of getting protection.
However, this was never so as Mzee Kenyatta ordered they be deported back to the US.
A look by Kenyans.co.ke into Wikileaks documents indicates that the controversy which started in 1974 saw Mzee Kenyatta direct Saul to take a flight out of the country within 7 hours on allegations that he was a “PROHIBITED IMMIGRANT’ INVOLVED IN GEMSTONE AND IVORY SMUGGLING”.
“President Kenyatta said in a speech delivered in Swahili that foreigners had no right to exploit Kenya’s mineral resources for their sole benefit and added that one “UNSCRUPULOUS” foreigner, whom he called a “HYENA” had just been forced to leave the country,” Wikileaks quoted Kenyatta.
Saul’s business partner, Miller, was also expelled from the country sparking a diplomatic tussle between Kenya and the US ambassador Anthony Marshall.
In as much as it was not clear the role Kenyatta had in the multi-million mining business, his close friend and Greek millionaire, George Criticos, took over the ruby mines when the two Americans were sent home.
It is recorded in court papers and WikiLeaks documents that Kenyatta’s wife Mama Ngina and Beth Mugo (Mzee’s niece) had interest in the highly precious stones.
After Mzee’s death in 1978, Mr Saul came back to the country to reclaim his invaluable mine dubbed Ng’ang’a mines which was under the company, Stones Limited – which he co-owned with Miller.
Saul had his own foreign-registered company known as Rockland International Corporation which managed to lay back its claim to Ng’ang’a Mines as the “original discoverer” from Mr Criticos.
Later in 1990, Saul edged out his partner from their mining business by holding a secret general meeting while Miller was in the US, where he (Saul) together with Gabriel Nyambu, a manager at Stones Limited, were appointed as the directors.
Saul successfully convinced the court that the original mining rights had been given to his company, Rockland International Corporation, and not Stones Limited which he co-owned with Miller.
The geologist would later transfer the mining pits to Rockland Kenya Limited in January 1992 and wound up Stones Ltd.
Muthama had all along been working in the mining sector and gained invaluable experience in the lucrative business.
The now Machakos Senator entered into a deal with a company identified as Topaz Group to buy all the rubies from Rockland Kenya. Topaz Group was one of the leading producers and distributors of precious and semi-precious stones, as well as jewellery.
It was this lucrative pact that saw Muthama now own Rockland Kenya Limited. The Machakos Senator is one of the richest politicians in the country.
He owns several homes in high-end estates including Runda, Muthaiga, Nyali, Machakos and Kangundo.
Mr Muthama has also been mentioned in the Panama papers as one of the Kenyans who operate offshore accounts, a claim he openly admitted as true noting that he held a Rockland96 account with HSBC Bank (Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation) in Switzerland.
The papers showed that Muthama’s business account transacted Sh5.1 Billion in a period of just four years.