What you need to know:
- Recently, he had fashioned himself as a champion in the fight against corruption and impunity, taking to social media with fiery and potentially defamatory statements against individuals, corporations and the government.
- Erad, for instance, was awarded more than Sh500 million by the courts after it sued the National Cereals and Produce Board for breach of a grain supply contract after a legal battle that lasted years.
Slain businessman Jacob Juma was a controversial figure who lived a life of contradictions as he flaunted his wealth that allowed him to rub shoulders with the political and business elite.
Mr Juma, who described himself as a self-made billionaire, had vast interests in mining and real estate.
But most of his time was spent with his lawyers, crafting litigation where several of his companies either sought to defend their assets — mainly land in prime Nairobi locations — or claimed billions of shillings from counterparties, including the government.
Recently, he had fashioned himself as a champion in the fight against corruption and impunity, taking to social media with fiery and potentially defamatory statements against individuals, corporations and the government.
Mr Juma was not the typical entrepreneur running a company with a significant workforce.
He had a private office in Nairobi’s Karen estate, a home and several plots in the upmarket area.
When Nation visited the office in December 2012, the only worker was a receptionist.
The office, however, is a work of grandeur that speaks of wealth and ambition. For one, the desk is carved out of a single tree trunk.
Mr Juma took a passive portfolio approach to wealth accumulation, taking significant stakes in a number of companies managed by others.
That approach freed up a lot of time, allowing him to wage a number of commercial lawsuits involving some of his companies accused of winning contracts unfairly or not delivering according to agreed terms.
They include Juma Construction Company and Erad Supplies & General Contractors, which mainly deal with government agencies.
The firms have, on a number of occasions, sued the government for billions of shillings in damages, sometimes successfully.
Erad, for instance, was awarded more than Sh500 million by the courts after it sued the National Cereals and Produce Board for breach of a grain supply contract after a legal battle that lasted years.
The judgment was made in favour of Erad despite the company not delivering a single grain to the the board.
Mr Juma’s passive investments include a stake in Cortec Mining Kenya, a subsidiary of Pacific Wildcat Resources, in which he said he owned 30 per cent.
The company’s licence was cancelled by then Mining Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala in August 2013, threatening to end the multi-billion-shilling Niobium and Rare Earth project in Kwale County.
Mr Balala, who Mr Juma accused of demanding a bribe from Cortec, said due process was not followed in awarding the licence.
Cortec is fighting the cancellation through international legal channels.
Mr Juma also had significant real estate holdings, including apartments in Nairobi’s Westlands and plots in Loresho and Karen Plains, some of whose ownership has been disputed and attracted litigation.
At one time, he invited a family to put up a temporary house on his 5.5-acre plot in Karen to “watch over it”.
Never coy about flaunting his wealth, Mr Juma at one time said he owned a significant stake in Anglo-Swiss commodity trading and mining firm Glencore.
He also claimed to own a residential property in South Africa’s Cape Town which he said set a record in the asking price when he put it up for sale in 2012.
Along the way, he accumulated a lot of enemies in business and politics and reportedly survived an assassination attempt by a former business partner in November 2014.
Asked recently whether he was afraid his activities would land him in trouble, he said he did not fear death.