Controversial gospel musician Ringtone, whose real name is Alex Apoko, says he has set aside a maximum of Ksh200 million for the acquisition of a pre-owned helicopter.
Speaking exclusively to eDaily, Ringtone said he got the money from his businesses, which he did not reveal their nature.
The Tenda Wema hit-maker says his new acquisition will serve both personal and commercial purposes.
“I have set aside Ksh200 million for the acquisition of a used chopper. Though, if I can get one which goes for Ksh150 million and it is in good condition, I wouldn’t mind going for it,” he said.
“Besides my personal use, I will hire it out to willing people, who can afford it for few hours,” added Ringtone.
When probed on the source of his money, which he intends to plunge into the acquisition of a copter, Ringtone said: “My businesses helped me raise the Ksh200 million.”
“This country has a very conducive environment for one to do business. So, I am one of those people doing business in this country. I am not an idle musician; I am an entrepreneur, who engages in several trades. I won’t disclose details about my businesses. When one does something good with his life, God blesses the work of his hands. I am blessed. Watu waache wivu. And you cannot judge a book by its cover. Just because I walk around the streets of Nairobi, it doesn’t mean you know the amount of money stored in my bank account. It is only God who knows my worth. I have many businesses not registered under my name; I won’t reveal their nature,” he said.
“Watu waache kujudge wengine kwa kuangalia sura na miaka,” added Ringtone.
The gospel musician, who in the far and recent past hogged media headlines for his controversial lifestyle, said he has already gotten in touch with two people, who wish to sell their helicopters to him.
“So far, two foreigners willing to sell their helicopters have approached me. Though, I am still looking around for cheaper options. If I can get one going for very little amount of money, I will be happy,” he said.
But, is he aware that he needs clearance by the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority to operate it after acquisition?
“When I decided that I needed a chopper, I was aware of the required documents, which would allow me to legally own and operate the copter. I am following due process in the acquisition. Hopefully, I will buy one which is locally registered so that I don’t go through long and winding registration process. As soon as I get one, I will alert my fans,” he said.
Small passenger helicopters cost between Ksh100 and Ksh200 million in Europe or America but the cost of import duties and final assembly in Kenya can easily double the cost to Ksh400 million-plus. Middlemen can also push up the prices.
Captain Gad Kamau, a helicopter pilot operating out of Wilson Airport, says helicopters are expensive to buy, run and maintain.
A helicopter consumes 150 to 160 litres of jet A-1 fuel in an hour.
To park a helicopter at a hangar at Wilson Airport for maintenance will cost between Ksh150, 000 to Ksh200, 000 for two days.
Insurance is even costlier, but is pegged on safety record of each company.