Economy

Judge orders disclosure of John Keen’s wealth in succession battle

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Summary

  • The High Court has ordered a disclosure of assets belonging to the estate of the late politician John Keen, as a dispute intensifies over its management and sharing.
  • The estate is estimated to be worth Sh13 billion.
  • Justice Aggrey Muchelule ordered five children of the late tycoon (two of them being executors of his Will) to file and serve a full and accurate inventory within 60 days.

The High Court has ordered a disclosure of assets belonging to the estate of the late politician John Keen, as a dispute intensifies over its management and sharing.

The estate is estimated to be worth Sh13 billion.

Justice Aggrey Muchelule ordered five children of the late tycoon (two of them being executors of his Will) to file and serve a full and accurate inventory related to J Keen Investments Limited within 60 days.

The five are listed as Antony Simel, Pamela Soila, Bernard Olonana, Somoire Keen and Rosemary Sanau.

The judge issued the order following an application filed by one of Mr Keen’s sons, Edward Meitamei, seeking information on the assets and liabilities in the name of the late politician between the time of his death and March 8, 2021.

Mr Meitamei said he is a beneficiary of the estate having been given shares by Mr Keen through a written Will.

Mr Keen died on December 25, 2016 and he left a written Will dated December 2, 2015. He appointed Supreme Court judge Isaac Lenaola, lawyer Maina Wachira, and his children Rosemary Sanau and Pamela Soila as the executors of the Will.

The executors petitioned the court on February 1, 2017 for the grant of probate of written Will and the same was issued on April 4, 2017. The grant has not been confirmed.

Mr Keen left a large polygamous family, and a substantial estate. Justice Lenaola resigned as an executor while lawyer Maina Wachira has since passed on.

This left Sanau and Soila as the executors of the Will.

In his ruling on Mr Meitamei’s request for an inventory, Justice Muchelule noted that section 83 of the Law of Succession Act tasks the executors of a Will with the obligation to give a full and accurate account of all dealings with the estate up to the date of account.

“The court or any interested party can request for a full and accurate account of the assets and liabilities of the estate,” he stated.

The judge held that since Soila and Sanau are the executors of the Will of their father, they have a fiduciary responsibility to act in the best interests of the estate, the beneficiaries and creditors.

“They have to make sure that Keen’s wishes as expressed in the Will are respected and carried out. They are required to manage the estate prudently and appropriately deal with the beneficiaries and creditors in good faith, ensuring that information keeps flowing and ultimately distribute the estate as commanded by the Will,” said the judge.

The court, however, dimissed Mr Meitamei’s request for provision of Sh1.8 million for payment of his Grade Two minor’s school fees and related expenses.

He had asked that the money be directed to come from the J. Keen Investments account or from any other account of Mr Keen.

His daughter, Zola Sinet, had also filed an application seeking Sh4.8 million to pay her fees at an Australian university.