Ex-Kanu power broker Kiplagat spent last years defending wealth in court - Beaking Kenya News

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Wednesday, 10 February 2021

Ex-Kanu power broker Kiplagat spent last years defending wealth in court


Hosea Kiplagat spent the better part of his life as an affluent  businessman and politician, famous for his clout as a fixer and President Daniel Moi's right-hand man.

In his last last days, a cloud of court cases hung over him, some rulings threatening to decimate his vast estate.

Kiplagat, 76, collapsed and died on February 6 at 9.30am. The family announced he fell ill briefly at home and was pronounced dead when he was rushed to Karen Hospital.

Funeral arrangements have not been announced.

Born in Baringo, HK - as he was known by his friends -started out as a prison warden. He resigned and decided to try his hand at business.

He was a natural and his star rose both in business and politics.

Kiplagat's political mobilisation skills at the grassroots in Baringo, his entrepreneurial skills and being a nephew of President Daniel Moi all helped.

He would rise to become Moi’s right hand-man. If you wanted to see the President for some deal, HK was your man.

Observers said he connected the late lawyer Mutula Kilonzo with President Moi and Mutula's fortunes changed for the better.

HK was the powerful Kanu chairman in Baringo.

Along the way, he accumulated wealth and invested in vast estates in Baringo, Uasin Gishu and Nairobi. He had interests in property, banking and tree farming for electricity poles. 

He served as chairman of the Cooperative Bank.

As the curtain fell on Moi's reign in 2002, Kiplagat became actively involved in politics. He was among the first in Moi's inner circle to endorse his son Gideon to inherit the Baringo Central parliamentary seat.

With Moi out of power, Kiplagat could not peddle his influence anymore. His business prospects started dwindling and he spent more time moving from one court to another defending his wealth.

One recent case involved a Sh378.61 million bank loan he took in 2018 to bolster his electricity poles business. As time went by, he defaulted.

HK had guaranteed the loan for his two firms — Eldoret Concrete Poles Limited and Timber Treatment Limited - using his personal properties including his palatial home in Karen and other properties in Eldoret.

When he defaulted, the Bank of India, the lender, sued him and obtained an order to auction his property to collect the debt.

Court records show Kiplagat defended his failure to pay by citing the economic slump attributed to Covid-19 as well as the harsh and unpredictable business environment.

He obtained a temporary injunction against the auction.

In late January, however, the court allowed the bank to auction the properties and recover the money, a loss that must have weighed heavily on the former Kanu power operative until his death.

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