Kenyan multimillionaire tycoon Naushad Merali has died at the age of 70. He was one of Kenya’s wealthiest men.
According to a statement from the Shia Ithna Asheri Jamaat Secretariat in Nairobi, the tycoon died at 5:00 AM on Saturday morning while undergoing treatment for an undisclosed ailment at the Nairobi Hospital.
“It is with profound grief and sorrow that we inform you of the sad demise of Dr. Naushad Noorali Merali in Nairobi. He was a businessman and owner of Sameer Group,” the statement read.
Merali, who was a devout Shia Ismaili muslim, will be buried today, July 3.
Until his death, Merali was the chairman of Sameer Group, a Kenyan conglomerate with interests in agriculture, construction, information technology, property and finance.
Over the past few years, he has divested from his holdings in the technology and financial sectors.
In 2013, he disposed of his 49-percent stake in Swift Global, one of Kenya’s pioneering Internet service providers.
Just last year, he sold his controlling stake in the floundering Spire Bank to Mwalimu National Sacco, a teachers cooperative society, in a deal estimated at over Ksh3 billion ($28 million).
Merali was media-shy and hardly granted interviews. However, he was known as one of Kenya’s most generous philanthropists. The Zarina and Naushad Merali Foundation, which he chaired, often made substantial financial gifts to hospitals and needy schools.
Earlier today, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta called Merali a leading industrialist, whose businesses created thousands of jobs and helped build the Kenyan economy.
“Merali’s business acumen created thousands of direct and indirect jobs for our people and wealth that helped uplift many of our households from poverty,” the president said in a statement. “Alongside his celebrated business exploits, Mr. Merali was a philanthropist whose generous giving earned him the Chief of the Order of the Burning Spear state commendation.”
Merali leaves behind his wife Zarina and his children Sameer and Yasmin.