It’s not a surprise that Insurance cartel James Olubayi’s Zamara that has about 180 client-organisations with about 37,000 employees and savings of up to Sh28 billion is now set to be auctioned over a debt of over sh125 million linked to a cancelled contract to build a 46-floor property in the city.
Before the contract was cancelled, the building that was designed to have offices and the rest of the spaces rented for commercial and retail shops was 75% complete.
James Olubayi the owner of Zamara is not a well-known individual but a billionaire in the Insurance industry whose monies came and still come from dubious means.
Olubayi who is also the UBA Bank Chairman is not new to controversies and drama. Recently he was exposed as a scammer who moonlights government parastatals and institutions and influencing tenders.
He was also accused of bribing mainstream media not to exposé his sins. Many journalists and editors were pocketed too. This he does through calling, sponsoring media stories and at the extreme end, he uses state agencies to fight competitors.
His friends knows him as a wheeler-dealer in the insurance industry and was at one time regarded as the head of the Kenyan insurance cartel that has been swindling billions of taxpayers money.
James Olubayi is among the first Kenyan Actuarial fellows and the head of the Kenyan insurance cartel. He once worked for the Government before moving to the current position where he is the majority shareholder using proxy companies.
He also owns Pioneer Insurance through proxies. His brother is on the board of Pioneer insurance.
It has been reported time and again that Olubayi has been laundering his money into the real-estate sector just like other thieves stealing from the public and private sector.
Days before his firm Zamara was left in the hands of auctioneers to recover sh125 million as stated above, the firm was reportedly among those companies that were being favoured in a Kenya Pipeline deal.
His many companies evade taxes, in shocking figures sources say.
Mr Olubayi is also being accused of masterminding many scandals making him one of the key personalities that forced Isaac Mwige, the chief executive of UBA Kenya, to leave the bank after four years on the job.
The bank has been in the news for loans it advanced to companies that later defaulted after a mix of losses, heavy debt burden and mismanagement.
UBA is among a group of banks that advanced loans to Nakumatt Holdings, Uchumi Supermarkets and Deacons East Africa and you all know what transpired to them – all defaulted on their loans and later collapsed or gone into administration.
UBA is, for instance, owed some Sh345 million by ARM Cement, Sh172 million by Uchumi, Sh250 million by Nakumatt and Sh98.3 million by Deacons. Olubayi never resigned.
Sources say, Olubayi pocketed the Retirement Benefits Authority and uses the Authority to fight competitors.