Late James Kanyotu: His coffee farm sold

An expansive coffee farm that belonged to James Kanyotu, Kenya’s most dreaded head of the Special Branch, now NSIS, has been sold.

The coffee farm in Ruiru, previously known as Kangaita Coffee Estate, comprised of 506 acres and has been purchased by Deliverance Church International Kasarani which is developing a gated community by the name Imani Estate.

The coffee trees has been uprooted and mansions are coming up on a property that was the signature project of Mr Kanyotu – perhaps the most reticent personality in Kenya.

With an acre now going for Sh18 million, it means that the Kanyotu family received upward of Sh7 billion.

The coffee farm was subject to a legal tussle after Kanyotu’s death and the High Court ordered the family members to sit down and resolve the issues on the distribution of the properties.

“The beneficiaries are ordered to sit down and agree on how to distribute the properties that comprise the estate of the deceased…This court is of the view that the parties herein, with generosity of spirit, will be able to reach a settlement taking into consideration the nature of the properties that comprise the estate of the deceased,” said Justice Lucas Kimaru.

As the head of the Directorate of Security Intelligence (‘Special Branch’) from 1965 until his retirement in 1991, Mr Kanyotu had build a huge empire that consisted of real estate and shareholdings in blue-chip companies.

He was also one of the architect of the Goldenberg scandal which was accused of stealing billions of shillings from Central Bank through a fake diamond export compensation scheme. His co-director was Kamlesh Pattni.

Born in 1936 in Kirinyaga District, Kanyotu attended Alliance High School and Makerere University for a diploma in teaching before joining police force as an inspector of police Grade 1. Five years later, he became deputy head of intelligence and took over from Bernard Hinga- Kenya’s first spy chief – and remained so until 1991.

The sale of the coffee farm is an indicator that the family has agreed to sell the properties rather than keep them as agricultural business.

And there goes yet another coffee farm.




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