Economy

Nginyo ‘second wife’ joins Sh4bn estate row

nginyo

The late businessman Nginyo Kariuki. FILE PHOTO | NMG

victorjuma_img

Summary

  • Margaret Wanjiru has gone to court seeking to block the application by Mr Kariuki’s first wife Margaret Wangari Nginyo and four of her children for permission to run the deceased’s estate as trustees and executors.
  • Mr Kariuki died on February 24, 2020, leaving behind a vast estate including real estate, farms, bank deposits and government bonds and a will that has been contested in court.
  • Brenda Nyambura Kiragu, who says she is one the tycoon’s children born of out wedlock, separately wants the court to nullify the businessman’s will of June 13, 2014 saying the document is either a forgery or the author did not have free will at the time of its creation.

A woman claiming to be a wife of the late politician and businessman Lawrence Nginyo Kariuki has joined the legal battle over the administration and sharing of his Sh4 billion estate.

Margaret Wanjiru has gone to court seeking to block the application by Mr Kariuki’s first wife Margaret Wangari Nginyo and four of her children –James Kariuki, Scholastica Kariuki, Jane Kariuki and Silas Kariuki – for permission to run the deceased’s estate as trustees and executors.

Mr Kariuki died on February 24, 2020, leaving behind a vast estate including real estate, farms, bank deposits and government bonds and a will that has been contested in court.

Brenda Nyambura Kiragu, who says she is one the tycoon’s children born of out wedlock, separately wants the court to nullify the businessman’s will of June 13, 2014 saying the document is either a forgery or the author did not have free will at the time of its creation.

Ms Wanjiru and her two children reckon that they have been excluded from the will, marking the latest high-profile succession dispute.

She has joined Brenda in petitioning the court not to grant Ms Wangari and her four children letters of administration or the right to implement the contested will.

“That we object to … the purported executor and executrices (which is challenged) to be granted probate of the purported written will, which is challenged,” she says in her petition.


nginyo2

The late Nginyo Kariuki and Margaret Wanjiru. She has filed photographs of her and the deceased on trips to the United Kingdom to support her claim that the pair had a close relationship lasting more than three decades. PHOTO | COURTESY

The letters of administration were to be issued after placements of the names of the executors of the will in a Kenya Gazette notice and the expiry of a 30-day period for no objections.

The notice was placed on the Kenya Gazette on August 21, triggering the objections from Ms Wanjiru and Brenda that has put on ice the court’s approval to the executors of the will.

In an affidavit, Ms Wanjiru says she bore twins Alex Ndoria and Austin Wachira with the deceased whose will of June 13, 2014 excludes them.

She says she has been a wife to Mr Kariuki since 1984 and that they were blessed with the twins on May 3, 1986.


wanjiru

Ms Wanjiru says she bore twins Alex Ndoria and Austin Wachira with the deceased whose will of June 13, 2014 excludes them. PHOTO | COURTESY

Ms Wanjiru has filed financial records, foreign travel accounts and photographs over a period of 35 years to show her dealings and proof of alleged marriage to Mr Kariuki, adding that her exclusion and that of her two sons from the will is unjustified.

“That I have at all times been part of the deceased’s life as a wife and our respective families, friends and the community at large considered us, respected us and treated us as a married couple,” she says in her supporting affidavit.

“That the proposed executors and executrices cannot be entrusted alone to faithfully administer according to law the estate of the deceased and render a true and just account of such estate.”

She has filed photographs of her and the deceased on trips to the United Kingdom to support her claim that the pair had a close relationship lasting more than three decades.

She says that Mr Kariuki also supported her financially over the years, producing bank records that show he sent her Sh250,000 as recently as December 6, 2019.

“That our children Alex Ndoria and Austin Wachira also depended on the deceased, and the deceased supported them in their travels and stay in the United Kingdom and the United States of America,” she says in the affidavit.

She is contesting the will on several grounds, including the allegation that there were no credible witnesses, it is vague and inconsistent.

Ms Wanjiru also claims that the court has not been furnished with a comprehensive list of the deceased’s assets.

She says that Githima estate comprising 55 houses, Lenana Mount Hotel and Nginyo Towers are missing in the will.


london

PHOTO | COURTESY

“That the purported written will dated June 13, 2014 is not a valid will. That the will is not signed by the deceased Lawrence Nginyo Kariuki, and the signature therein is a fake and a forgery,” she says.

Mr Kariuki had a long history in politics but his most recent prominent role came in 2000 when he founded and became chairman of The National Alliance (TNA) party.

The party was President Uhuru Kenyatta’s ticket to power in 2013. It was later dissolved in 2016 when it merged with others, including the United Republican Party (URP), to form the ruling Jubilee Party.

Mr Kariuki was more successful in business, amassing a fortune that places his heirs among the richest families in the country.

Court documents show he owned land and buildings in Nairobi, Kiambu and Ngong valued at a total of Sh3.2 billion.

He owned a 120-acre farmland in Tigoni, Kiambu County, producing coffee, tea and livestock. The farm has monthly expenses of Sh1.7 million per month and makes a small profit.

Mr Kariuki had a total of Sh335 million in fixed deposit accounts, with most of the cash parked at Consolidated Bank of Kenya.

His investment firms, including Nginyo Investments and Pema Holdings, have assets worth Sh221.3 million.

He had also invested Sh84.1 million in government bonds generating an annual interest income of Sh9.4 million.

Mr Kariuki owned shares in a few Nairobi Securities Exchange-listed firms with a market value of about Sh18 million. His biggest stock market investment is 101,200 shares of East African Breweries (EABL) currently valued at Sh16 million.

He owned several luxury cars and farm machinery valued at Sh33.1 million, including a Toyota Landcruiser and a Mercedes Benz.

Mr Kariuki’s estate has minimal debt and has significant liquidity, with cash and cash equivalents representing about 10.5 percent of the total assets.