Judge quits Moi estate suit over bias claims


Justice Aggrey Muchelule. PHOTO | TOM MARUKO | NMG

A judge has disqualified himself from a dispute involving the distribution of assets owned by former President Daniel Toroitich arap Moi over claims of bias by his (Moi's) grandson.

Justice Aggrey Muchelule decided to quit the matter on Monday following a request by Moi's grandson, Collins Kibet, who is seeking a provision of Sh30 million from the estate to settle his financial needs.

In the dispute, Mr Kibet wants the court to order the administrator of his grandfather's estate, which is estimated to be worth billions of shillings, to cater for his maintenance billed at Sh20 million annually.

The money is to cater for his family's medical cover, children's school fees, food, clothing, transport among other expenses.

He also wants an additional Sh10 million to start a business so that he can become financially independent.

In the application, Mr Kibet claims to be under financial distress to a level that he is struggling to provide for himself and his family.

When the matter was called out on Monday for hearing, Justice Muchelule recused himself after Mr Kibet's advocate, Pearlyne Omamo, asked for the matter to be heard by another judge.

The lawyer claimed that Justice Muchelule was not suitable for determining the maintenance application because he had taken a position in a related matter involving the distribution of the estate of Moi's son, Jonathan Kipkemboi Moi, in which Mr Kibet is also seeking financial maintenance. Jonathan is Mr Kibet's father.

Ms Omamo asked for the file to be allocated to another judge.

The judge did not oppose or question the lawyer's request but only remarked that the case 'file is like any other matter placed before him and he has no business in it'.

"We have no business in the file. If they feel they won't get justice, it is okay," said the judge as he allocated the file to Justice Maureen Odero and directed the parties to appear before her on June 29, 2022.

In revealing his financial difficulties, Mr Kibet says he has since been evicted from his rental residential house and the landlord is claiming an outstanding rent of Sh200,000.

Mr Kibet, 45, in his court papers is seeking an order compelling lawyer Zehrabanu Janmohamed, who is managing President Moi’s vast estate, to cater for his maintenance based on his father's share in the estate.

The application is premised on a Will left by President Moi, in which he shared his assets among his five sons and stated that in case of the sons' death, their children would be bequeathed the share of their respective parents.

Mr Kibet's father, Jonathan, died on April 20, 2019, while President Moi died on February 4, 2020. The distribution of both estates is under separate court battles.

Mr Kibet wants the administrator of Moi's estate to give him the Sh30 million in a lumpsum as he waits to receive his full share, which was to be bequeathed to his father Jonathan.

He claims he is entitled to more than Sh5 billion from the estate of his grandfather.

Unlike his father, Jonathan had not prepared a will on how his estate should be distributed to his family and dependants.

On his part, President Moi had written a Will indicating that he owned a parcel of land comprising 931 hectares which he instructed that it be held by the Trustees of Kabarak University in trust for the benefit of his five sons.

They are listed as Jonathan Kipkemboi Moi, Raymond Moi, John Mark Moi, Philip Moi and Gideon Moi equally during their lifetime and upon their death for the benefit of their children.

He also gave Sh100 million to each of his daughters -Jenifer Chemutai Moi, Doris Chekorir Moi and June Chebet Moi.

Moi appointed lawyer Janmohamed as the executrix and trustee of the Will. On October 9, 2020, the High Court gave the lawyer authority to manage and distribute the properties.

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