If you type the name Mike Njeru on the internet, you will come across a social media post that will direct you to the numerous scandals that he has been involved in. The man’s name is virtually on every scandal under the Jubilee government.
It is not shocking that the owner of Transcend Media Group (TMG) then is a man under siege.
He has built his business empire through political connections, threats and blackmail and some of it is well-documented by the numerous blogs and social media posts.
His many scandals have scared some businesses from associating with him.
At first, it is reported that Mike Njeru had a problem with Safaricom choosing and signing a Public Relations deal with a rival company. He had tried to influence an award of tender to his firm by writing an email to Safaricom Procurement staff over the matter. Njeru is said to have booked tickets to a Barcelona conference for the officials.
“We have managed to secure FIVE(5) tickets for Safaricom at the World Mobile Congress in Barcelona in February to attend McCann’s Inside Mobile one day seminar,” Mr Gathecha wrote on January 24, 2014, in an email to Eric Achola, Safaricom’s former head of brand marketing.
“We could host five key people, which will be a great first-hand introduction to the McCann Global Telco Team and our thought leadership in the industry,” said Mr Gathecha, “They have also agreed to tour the Safaricom party around the conference show key global trends and best practice. What do you guys think about this? Can you confirm who you propose will attend this so can inform our Global people who to expect and host.”
Though Transcend Media Group never performed better than ScanGroup with was ultimately chosen, Njeru has maintained that he was shortchanged.
It is this war and a nudge to forge forward coming from Moi-era influential lawyer Ken Kiplagat that emboldened Njeru to fight Safaricom. It is alleged that Mr Kiplagat wanted to be paid by Safaricom for frequencies that are owned by the National Police Service. Mr Njeru, angered by the loss of business, joined the assault against Safaricom, hitting back at the firm’s officials and WPP Scangroup.
At some point, a relationship with the Odinga family through the late Fidel Odinga opened his eyes the world of low capital and huge returns.
It is said Mike Njeru and Fidel Odinga were in a petroleum business with was very capital intensive and small margins of profit. Mike who was a friend of Raila during that time left and started Transcend Media Group together with a couple of other friends namely Dagoretti South MP John Kiarie, Tony Gatheca (CEO) and Lai Muthoka.
At one point when the National Youth Service (NYS) 1 scandal was hot in the news, it was revealed that Transcend Media Group had received over Ksh50 million for a two-hour event management.
“That was a complete rip-off of taxpayers’ money, there’s nothing that the contractor did at the site that was unique”, a source stated that time.
That was not the first and the last case of expensive charges from Transcend. It was reported that Kenya Power Plc rebranding was the most ridiculously expensive endeavour.
Some sources had also intimated that the NYS rebranding gobbled up over Ksh160 million.
It is reported that if Transcend Media Group puts up a pitch to win any tenders, reputational risk and red flags are raised.
Mike Njeru has been known to steal sensitive file from government parastatals and corporates in order to use those to blackmail his way into tenders.
There’s also the risk of him being a politically exposed person whom firms are finding it hard to deal with.
Njeru who had won the KPLC rebranding contract because of Raila Odinga is now a persona-non grata in the PR circles. No one wants to work with him.
Currently, Njeru is embroiled in the Ksh200 million bribe allegations against Justice Tunoi, where he has been linked to the accuser, Geoffrey Kiplagat. He has appeared before the commission defending his links with Kiplagat.