It is a well-known secret that businessman and current President of the Kenya Chamber of Commerce and Industry Mr. Richard Ngatia operate an entertainment joint in the name of Galileo lounge in Westlands, Nairobi. What most revelers to his joint do not know however, is that Mr. Ngatia was once a struggling DJ, after he had been denied financial support by his wealthy family who were against his involvement in music and night life. His main activity during those hard times was to entertain revelers by spinning the latest and freshly released albums.
His biggest brake from the hard times came while he was a DJ. A chance meeting with some foreigners within the club where he worked opened doors for him. That meeting changed his life in a big way, bigger than what he might have imagined when he first started out as a DJ.
The foreigners introduced Mr. Ngatia to the importation, mostly from India of two ingredients that are actually used in the manufacture of cough syrups and nose drops, Ephedrine Hydrochloride and Pseudoephedrine Hydrochloride. Out of this business, he made loads of cash; at one stage he bought four houses in the leafy Nairobi estate of Kitisuru for Ksh.65 million per unit that is a cool Ksh. 260 million in total.
Most of us would innocently walk into a chemist and buy cough syrup or nose drops across the counter. However Ephedrine Hydrochloride and Pseudoephedrine Hydrochloride are substances that are used to make methamphetamine, a white odourless, bitter-tasting crystalline powder that easily dissolves in water or alcohol and is taken orally, through the nose by snorting, by needle injection, or by smoking. It causes increased euphoria once ingested and can lead to addiction, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse of the United States.
At one time, Pharmacy and Poisons Board outlawed the importation of Ephedrine Hydrochloride to curb illegal trade in the substance.
At one time when Ngatia’s imported consignment was impounded at the port by officers drawn from the Kenya Pharmacy and Poisons Board, he Ngatia walked to a senior officer’s desk at the board’s head office and threatened him with a gun, demanding the release of his cargo. An altercation almost broke out between him and the officer.
To have Mr. Ngatia as the President of the Kenya Chamber of Commerce and industry is a slap in the face of the youth of Kenya who have been led to believe that the only way of making clean money is through hustling.
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