For decades, TSS, and a crop of other influential Coast billionaires, wielded immense power in the region’s political circles owing to their wealth and multi-sectoral investments until, sadly, it all took a downturn, leaving him with a Ksh8 billion debt.
Born in Moyale in 1942, Said migrated to Lamu County in the 1960s from where he created his vast empire that stretched across multiple sectors including transport and real estate.
For the four decades that followed, TSS was a towering figure in the area and was among the few billionaires who ruled during the former President Daniel Moi’s era.
He was so influential that he often determined which leader would be elected in which locality. His influence catapulted him into the Kenya African National Union (KANU) leadership. He served as the KANU Chairman in Lamu until Mzee Moi exited power in 2002.
The tycoon founded the TSS Transporters Limited which plied the Nairobi – Mombasa route as well as Lamu – Mombasa route. He also set up TSS Investments Ltd, Transmara Logistic Ltd and TSS Pop Service Stations.
TSS was also a major player in the tea and coffee industries and built the 14-floor TSS Towers in Mombasa County. He was also ranked among the biggest landowners in Kenya.
While on his deathbed in 2017, the tycoon died a heartbroken man watching how his empire collapsed amid a feud among his sons and other family members, according to The Standard.
The woes began in 2015 after the tycoon, in a court affidavit, noted that he began receiving notices from banks threatening to auction his properties. Upon investigations, he found that his companies had, without his knowledge, borrowed loans from the institutions to the tune of Ksh8 billion.
He noted that he had entrusted his sons and relatives with the property, hoping that they would ethically run the businesses as a family affair after he fell ill in 2009.
â€œI had entrusted my children and brother-in-law in the running of the company and had faith that they would conduct the operations well and not compromise the interest of either company or any company entrusted to them,â€ stated the tycoon.
The government had seized several tracts of land the tycoon owned and cancelled the title deeds over a loan of Ksh5 billion. His tower in Mombasa was also under the government’s watchful eye over failure to settle arrears.
Several other banks laid claim to his properties including assets owned by TSS Transporters Ltd and TSS Investment Ltd.
The tycoon passes away in 2017 aged 75 years while receiving treatment at Milpark Hospital in Johannesburg. His empire is still a subject of court battles.