According to US magazine Forbes, in 2011, Kirubi ranked as Kenya’s second wealthiest man after Uhuru Kenyatta and the 31st richest man in Africa; his fortune was estimated at $300 million.
In an interview with Business Daily Kirubi claimed his ICT company is behind much used medical smart cards in Kenya.
He said there is no medical insurer that isn’t using his smart application, which has nearly two million subscribers.
What we know as Centum today was called Industrial and Commercial Development Corporation (ICDC) Company limited which started off with shares trading at KSh5 in 1967.
ICDC limited was formed to provide a vehicle for natives to invest in the economy of newly independent Kenya, by buying stake in companies and operating joint ventures such as Eveready East Africa with a subsidiary of US based Union Carbide Corporation.
Mr Kirubi was among the influential businessman who bought out the government when it was privatized in the 90’s. It was renamed Centum in 2007.
Through Centum Investments, Kirubi owned East Africa’s most ambitious property developments including Two Rivers in Gigiri and the Pearl Marina Project in Uganda.
Popularly known on the airwaves as DJ CK, Kirubi also chairhhhhhed Haco Industries Limited, Kiruma International Limited, International House Limited, Nairobi Bottlers Limited, Sandvik East Africa Limited and DHL Kenya. He also held shares in Capital Group Ltd that owns Capital FM.
In 2018, Kirubi earned Sh714 million (€6.3 million) from the sale of BiC brands East Africa franchise to French conglomerate Société BIC.
Kirubi lost his business foothold in South Africa after official unearthed a profit manipulation in a scandal at Haco Tiger Brands, a company he co-owned by.
The firm had to sack a Managing Director, Geoffrey Mwathi Kiarie, over accusations that he falsified operating profits by Sh879 million, negatively impacting the half-year results of the Johannesburg-listed Tiger Brands, which owns 51 per cent of the Kenyan operation.
Kirubi is widely blamed as one of the people who led to the collapse of Uchumi supermarkets.
Kirubi was charged with conspiracy to defraud Uchumi by irregularly selling a prime property the retail store’s Aga Khan Walk branch to Allgate Ltd for Sh147 million but got off the hook.
The billionaire businessman was the general manager of Kenya National Transport Company (Kenatco) in the 1960s and early 1970s.
In the 1990’s Kenatco took a loan from the Industrial and Commercial Development Corporation (ICDC) and was unable to pay back. It has been under receivership since February 1996.
He leaves behind two children: a daughter, Mary-Anne Musangi, who is the Managing Director of Kirubi’s Haco Industries and a son, Robert Kirubi, who works in Belgium as the head of Global Customer Programs at DHL Service Logistics.