By The Coast Newspaper Reporter
The name Ali Badrudin Punjani is not new across Coast region and beyond. At one point Punjani was economically and politically powerful controlling a billion business emperor.
Many know him also as an alleged drug dealer, a claim that he has rubbished as “hearsay and malice” by business rivals.
The Mombasa Tycoon is claimed to be on the verge of collapsing as his fortunes continue to dwindle. Details now emerge that Punjani has allegedly squandered every penny of his wealth to gambling and luxurious lifestyle and now turns into drug abuse.
Punjani;s net worth is estimated to be Sh. 940 billion, this according to his aids. He once lived like a king during the previous KANU and Kibaki regimes but now facing hard economic times since President Uhuru Kenyatta took over power in 2013.
His troubles are linked to buying lands in Lamu for Port construction which backfired leaving him without anything to salvage. At the moment he has closed nearly a half of his companies citing lack of a conducive business environment according to reliable sources.
Punjani owns various companies among them Nyali International Beach Hotel, Rising Star Commodities, Kwale Cement, Punjani Electrical Ltd, Real estate, Helicopter Sales and one of the Marshal Group owners.
The businessman is claimed to have yielded billions of shillings from dubious deals with the government during the times of former President Moi and Kibaki. Being a wheeler-dealer, he used his associates then within the corridors of power to acquire wealth.
But now he lives like a fugitive always hiding from members of the public, since his associates are now in the opposition. The Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) has put some of his companies under investigation for tax evasion amounting into billions of shillings.
“ Punjani cannot be found on his mobile phone and sleeps for 18 hours at his Nyali home. His office at Shimanzi area that was beehive of activity in Kibaki era with who is who visiting is a pale shadow of its former itself” according to a local source.
The billionaire also owns several five-star hotels in the UK, Dubai and Africa and had also acquired Sun-n-Sand Hotel to his business.
However, he is said to have used fake documents obtained from land registry for one parcel of land located at Shimoni Kwale County to acquire billions of shillings from Chase Bank.
According to a close source who sought anonymity, the said parcel of land was registered under Kwale Cement and Rising Star Commodity using them as collateral to acquire loans from Chase Bank and DTB Bank respectively.
“Punjani is one man who is ambitious, see the opportunity goes for it no matter the cost, I have worked for him know his dubious deals and how he got his wealth but as things unfold Ali will soon live in the streets”, said the source.
A number of his titles deeds were cancelled which he used to secure huge loans.
Punjani is also claimed to owe ABC Bank a loan running into billions of shillings and soon will be declared bankrupt according to sources.
He took a loan to buy Nyali International Beach hotel from businessman Kamlesh Pattni . Mr Pattni has already taken back the hotel over debts running into millions owed by Punjani.
His marriage had also hit rocks earlier with his personal assistant a one Amin dying in controversial circumstances. Amin was his brother-in-law.
He is reportedly has resorted to drug abuse since his mother died.