BY HENRY MARETE – Did Titus Ole Naikuni, the self-confessed imposing Maasai Moran abuse his height to loot Kenya Airways?
This is what DCI George Kinoti and later DPP Noordin Haji are seeking to find out…as it emerges that the national carrier may have been heavily looted by staff. But first, it may be important to lay the facts down. By the time Naikuni took over Kenya Airways, it was not as indebted as it is.
By the time he left, the firm was in the red…and now it seeks to revert back to the public..through severing its links with KLM, its erstwhile strategic partner. One this is a fact. By the time Naikuni exited the company, no supplier could give Kenya Airways credit. And most of the banks were calling back their loans.
By the time Naikuni joined the civil service, he was a little known man outside Kajiado County. Now the man is said to own more than half of the county….and posh properties in Nairobi. So is Naikuni just a lucky man or did he exploit his Maasai heritage to access state appointments and favour through which he made a fortune over the length of his illustrious professional career? To get to the bottom of this, you need to interrogate the Naikuni resume and his management style.
For starters, Naikuni is a University of Nairobi trained Mechanical Engineer. His first job was at General Motors where he worked as a graduate trainee. But owing to his Maasai minority heritage, landing lucrative jobs for Naikuni has been relatively easy. That is how he ended up at Magadi Soda, a British conglomerate from where he rose through the ranks to become the MD.
When then-President Daniel Arap Moi was forced by the World Bank and other Bretton woods institution to form the dream time, Naikunis name was floated easily by the blue-eyed boys of the donor community… and so he joined Leakey, Charles Oduor Otieno, John Munge and others in the new-look government which lasted less than two years. Naikuni was sacked in 2001, but he walked back to his former job at Magadi Soda.
His story like that of the other dream team members did not end there. He was appointed the Kenya Airways Managing Director. The rest of the story is now ceased with the DCI. It is not known what the lanky Maasai Moran is worth, but it is said he is a billionaire.