Counties

Two widows fight for former Machakos senator’s estate

case3

Summary

  • Two widows of former Machakos Senator Boniface Mutinda Kabaka are embroiled in a court dispute over distribution and control of his multi-million shilling estate.
  • The widows, Vascoline Katanu (with two children) and Jeniffer Mueni (with three children), are yet to agree on who will be issued by court with the grant of letters of the estate's administration.

Two widows of former Machakos Senator Boniface Mutinda Kabaka are embroiled in a court dispute over distribution and control of his multi-million shilling estate.

The widows, Vascoline Katanu (with two children) and Jeniffer Mueni (with three children), are yet to agree on who will be issued by court with the grant of letters of the estate's administration.

However, Ms Katanu has petitioned court to be issued with the letters and has lost bid to access part of his money held in bank to cater for the welfare of her family.

Pending determination of her application, she urged the court to provide for the education, housing, medical cover and basic maintenance for her two children and herself to the tune of Sh3.4 million.

She wanted the money to be withdrawn from the account of Bonavacantia Properties (K) Ltd at Eco Bank. The amount was to cover one year.

Senator Kabaka died intestate (without having made a will on distribution of his properties) on December 11, 2020. He was also an advocate of the High Cou and ran Kabaka & Associates Advocates.

He left several developed and undeveloped properties, vehicles, shares at Bunge Sacco and Parliamentarian Sacco and Senate Group Life Insurance benefits and Senate Death gratuity. He was a shareholder in a real estate company, Bonavacantia Properties (Kenya) Ltd, that owned several properties.

The widow told court that Kabaka was the majority shareholder in the real estate firm.

Ms Katanu also wanted the chairman of Bunge Sacco, Peter Meikoki, to furnish the court with a detailed and particularised statement of the shares owned by Kabaka.

In the application, she wants the Sacco chairman to furnish court with a copy of the Nomination Form that provides the names of people appointed by Kabaka as nominees for his benefits and entitlements.

Another order sought against the Sacco was that it be restrained from paying out or alienating the cash, shares, bonuses or any benefits that were due to the Senator.

The application was based on the grounds that, since the death of her husband, she and her children, both of whom were wholly dependent on him, have been without financial support or income.

She said this has materially affected her welfare and that of the children, hence the need to withdraw money from the account.

She had approached the chairman of the Bunge Sacco who advised that Kabaka had left nominees to whom whatever benefits would go to upon his death, and that the benefits of the Sacco were not part of his estate.

But Justice Aggrey Muchelule dismissed the application noting that it appears that Ms Katanu has issues regarding the nomination that Kabaka did at Bunge Sacco.

The judge ruled that under section 76 of the Cooperative Societies Act, any dispute that she may have with Bunge Sacco over the nomination of the beneficiaries should be referred to the Cooperative Tribunal.

In regards to the injuction sought against the chairman of Bunge Sacco in relation to the benefits due to Kabaka, the judge said the order cannot be issued. This is because the chairman was not made a party to the case, hence he was not heard in the matter.

On whether Ms Katanu and her children should get provision of the money from the bank account of the real estate company, the court ruled that the properties, including bank accounts, of a limited liability company, are separate from the property of the company’s respective directors, shareholders or members.

"There was no formal request to lift the veil of incorporation of Bonavacantia Properties (Kenya) Ltd, to be able to touch the money held by the company at Eco Bank Limited," said Justice Muchelule.

"This is not to say that the children of Kabaka are not entitled to benefit from his estate regarding their education, medical expenses and upkeep. However, such benefit cannot come from Bunge Sacco, unless they were nominated by Kabaka, or from the account at Eco Bank Ltd in the name of Bonavacantia Properties (Kenya) Limited," stated the judge.