NAIROBI, KENYA: Before investors started complaining of foul play in land deals that was expected to yield good profits, Property Reality Company (PRC), the company at the center of the investment was a darling of local media.
The Chief Executive Officer of the company - Brian Gacera - was a highly sought for personality. Many media houses sought to know how he made his millions in his early 30s.
Some described him as a successful young entrepreneur who discovered what he wanted in life before he clocked 30-years.
PRC is said to be holding assets in the millions of shillings and was founded seven years ago in 2010.
In an interview with Daily Nation published on August 5, 216r for instance, Gacera said while in campus, he wanted to be a rock star Chief Executive Officer of a big multinational and create something and be somebody. "I wanted to make a change and make an impact in society," he said.
In his 20s, he tells the publication that he was very curious, wanted to learn, meet new people and try new experiences. He pushed many boundaries in his twenties, often living on the edge but acknowledged that he got more settled in his thirties.
Brian says in order for one to become successful, they must have courage, patience, integrity, and uniqueness.
On uniqueness he says, "I realized by accident that people recognise products and businesses that are unique. Avoid copying another's business and look for unique ways to differentiate your product."
On integrity he says, "In a society where people's source of wealth is questionable. An honest reliable business goes much further than others."
In an interview done with biznakenya.com under the headline how 31-year-old built his multi-million real estate empire, Gacera says he wanted to be a lawyer but took up his father's suggestion of doing a business related course. He says he studied business administration and marketing at Strathmore University and admits that the training gave him a strong foundation.
The interview which was published on 10th May 2016 says that before venturing into real estate, Gacera had worked as an intern at the US Embassy, Commercial Bank of Africa, and as a sales and marketing coordinator at Subaru Kenya, introducing the paybill number mode of payment at the company in 2009, way before it became fashionable.
His itch for adventure kept him moving and in mid-2009, he accepted an internship position with Health Life Beverages Company in Accra, Ghana. "When I came back home, the properties market was heating up. A friend had just inherited 10 acres of land in Syokimau but did not have money to develop it. We partnered to make a development on the property a reality. A few discussions later and PRC was born," he told biznakenya.com.
In 2010, at the age of 25, he founded PRC. Gacari did not reveal how much his company was worth then, only hinting that it is worth millions of shillings.
On Thursday 24, August 2017, Standard Newspaper published a story about investors who are complaining about PRC's lucrative promise that lured them into buying land and green houses. Investors were only required to purchase plots of land and greenhouses from PRC, leaving the firm to grow high-value crops such as tomatoes. Investors would earn Sh250, 000 every season. A plot and a greenhouse would cost Sh550, 000, meaning that the investors would recoup their money in about 18 months.
The firm marketed it as a 'farming community' scheme, ostensibly because the parcels of land are not readily habitable as they are far from major towns.
Tens of investors who bought into the plan told The Standard they never received a cent and are now devastated after taking bank loans to buy into the scheme. Many are yet to receive land ownership documents several years on, much less the promised returns, while attempts to get refunds on the investments have been futile.
"It has been one year of painfully paying back a loan which I am struggling with yet the company is existing and making profits," a distraught investor named Joy wrote in an emailed complaint.
Joy's pain is shared by tens of other complainants. "I bought land at the Aberdare 3 (one of PRC's projects) with the greenhouse it costed (sic) me Sh550,000 and until now they are not responsive, they are giving me excuses," another aggrieved customer wrote. She added that her attempts to secure her title deeds for the two plots have been futile.
The article drew a lot of comments online with readers offering all kinds of advice on what one should look out for behore investing in such deals.
Bellah Knight When the deal is too good, don't think twice, RUN fast.
Yafesi Biggy Amwayi ·Producer Director at Cezmiq CastIn Kenya, such fraudsters are never punished. Instead they are elected to become Governors, Senators. MPs or even appointed to become heads of powerful Govt institutions. Africans at their best. Hahahaha
Samuel Muhuthia The much hyped Optiven bado inauza mashamba?