Obituary

Chamanlal Kamani: He came to Kenya with Sh16, died worth over Sh16 billion

Now the family not only effortlessly snapped the Diani Reef Beach
Resort for Sh120 million, but also exports 90 million roses a year!

Unflagging zeal: From mechanic to multi-billion shilling ventures in Kenya, Dubai and India.


The recent death of Chamanlal Kamani at 88 resurrected the billion shilling bones of this Indian family which worked hard as immigrants operating from their unassuming go down offices in Industrial, Nairobi.

But Chamanlal and his family became more known for the Sh55 billion Anglo-Leasing scandal, a series of security related tenders that began in the regime of retired president Daniel arap Moi. The scandal would   later be exposed when they rocked the Kibaki presidency in 2003. Chamanlal would later be charged alongside his sons, Deepak and Rashmi Kamani, but none was convicted.

The family was also known for intermarrying into other wealthy Indian families. His grandchildren proved money goes to where money: granddaughter Daisy, daughter of Deepak Kamani married Sameer Merali, son of Naushad Merali and heir of the Sameer Group fortune with interests in real estate, manufacturing, large-scale agriculture, telecoms, auto-dealership, construction, IT and finance.
The billions for which Chamanlal and his sons were charged with, was a far cry from the Sh16 on him when he docked in Kenya from Goa, India in 1950.

Buttressed with domestic bliss and savings, Chamanlal moved to Nairobi and opened his own Africa Motor Spares

Like most immigrants from India, he had been invited by his cousin, an accountant with the colonial police. To live in Kenya at the time, it was better for an immigrant to marry a local. He did just that, finding a bride in Mombasa. Her name was Sushila Priyaben (who died on November 16 at 86). To support her, he found a job as a mechanic. After all, the family began growing with the coming of children: Rashmi, Deepak, Sudha and Preeti Kamani.
Buttressed with domestic bliss and savings, he moved to Nairobi, Tom Mboya street, to be precise, and opened his own Africa Motor Spares shop where his children, like most Indian children, were socialized in ways in which the family bread was buttered.

Deepak, joined the family business at 17 after dropping out of school in Form Two (he usually came last in most school activities, including swimming!). Deepak still managed a diploma in mechanical works from Kenya Polytechnic, now Technical University of Kenya.

His genius was selling spares which his father opening a branch for him in Mombasa in 1969.
The spares business diversified into posho mills under Kamsons Ltd and in the fullness of time,the family not only effortlessly snapped up the Diani Reef Beach Resort for Sh120 million, but  also exports 90 million roses a year!

All these ventures were spillover effects of the spares business which diversified into posho mills under Kamsons Ltd

The Kamanis have for 50 years managed to transform their business and expand and now own the Zuri Group Global – a multi-billion shilling behemoth with interests in hospitality, real estate, project financing, floriculture, infrastructure, energy and defense-managed by Deepak Kamani.
Today, his brother Rashmi runs the family’s Zuri Hotels in Dubai while Deepak’s son Bobby runs The Zuri Hotels in Goa, Kumarakom, Bangalore and Sikim in India, where they are ranked among the most
luxurious – what with houseboat cruises, sailing, yachting and an international therapy centre.
All these ventures were spillover effects of the spares business which diversified into posho mills under Kamsons Ltd – the vehicle they used in securing multi-million shilling government tenders with the help of the fattest of political go-betweens.

They were charged in court with five counts for conspiracy to squirrel over Sh10 billion of public coffers for “services not provided”


Kamsons (short for Kamani and Sons) was part of the Kamsons Group which won the tender for revamping police vehicles. They imported the Indian made Mahindra brand of police patrol vehicles. But alas! without local expertise and spare parts they began breaking down all over Kenya in the 1990s.
The Mahindra story ended and they went underwater until they were resurfaced in the media as part of the controversial Anglo-Leasing that was associated with providing modernized security surveillance system for the police.
The scandal which punctuated the Mwai Kibaki administration was the reason Chamanlal and sons Deepak and Rashmi Kamani were charged in court with five counts for conspiracy to squirrel over Sh10 billion of public coffers for “services not provided.”
 Chamanlal Kamani was survived by his wife Sushila, four children, eight grandchildren and six great grandchildren.

One Reply to “Chamanlal Kamani: He came to Kenya with Sh16, died worth over Sh16 billion

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *