Sunday, May 26, 2024

Inside Ezra Chiloba’s agriculture farm, multimillion empire in Kitale

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Former Communications Authority (CA) Director General (DG) Ezra Chiloba has opened up about his agribusiness ventures in Kitale.

Speaking on Thursday before the National Assembly’s Defence and Foreign Relations Committee during his vetting as Kenya’s Consular General in Los Angeles, California State, USA, Chiloba revealed he owns an avocado farm in Kitale, which serves as his extra source of income alongside other businesses.

The former Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) CEO made the revelation while explaining the source of his Ksh.800 million wealth.

He went on to explain that he started working at an early age leading to the early accumulation of wealth.

“I have been very fortunate, because I started working while still in school in 2001.  Currently, I engage in agri-business and I plant and sell avocados in my farm in Kitale. Over the years I have also been able to save money derived from formal employment and my consultancy business,” he said.

Chiloba made headlines in September last year after his unceremonious exit as Director-General of the Communications Authority of Kenya after only a year in office.

CA chairperson Mary Wambui kicked Chiloba out over various financial missteps and claims of impropriety.

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He was accused of applying for and self-approving a Ksh25 million mortgage loan to facilitate the purchase of a property without subjecting the transaction to interrogation and approval by a higher authority.

The money was remitted to Kitale Hilmost Ltd, a company he solely owns, pointing out a conflict of interest.

In addition, he was also accused of clearing staff who left the CA despite having unpaid loans totaling Sh. 28.9 million and understating loan balances for former employees, charges that were claimed to have been based on the findings of an audit report on the management of the staff mortgage scheme.

Before joining CA, Chiloba had also faced public funds mismanagement claims at the IEBC, where he was suspended twice before eventually being fired over the procurement scandal.

He was put on the spot by the National Assembly’s Public Accounts Committee for opting for direct procurement in tenders worth Ksh6.5 billion during the 2017 polls.

His service in the public sector began after years of making money in the private sector. Among the organizations he reportedly worked for are the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) as a Program Analyst, Oxfam as a Program Officer, and the Kenya National Human Rights Commission (KNHRC) as a Human Rights Officer.

He is said to have invested heavily in the real estate sector, where he owns several properties, including acres of land and a home in Trans Nzoia County.

Chiloba is also said to be a player in the agriculture sector, where he has engaged in passion fruit, banana, avocado, indigenous trees, and coffee farming.

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