A fresh battle for control of former Cabinet minister Mbiyu Koinange's Sh10 billion estate has erupted, threatening the distribution of the wealth among his four wives.
Koinange’s fourth wife, Eddah Wanjiru Mbiyu, backed by the majority of the family members, wants the daughter of former President Jomo Kenyatta’s confidant to return 88 acres of land adjacent to Two Rivers mall ahead of distribution of the assets.
This will stall implementation of a Supreme Court ruling that Mr Koinange had four wives who should inherit his Sh10 billion empire. The ruling that Koinange's two wives, previously sidelined by the High Court, should also get a share of the estate was expected to put to rest the 38-year-old succession fight.
The parties were to return to the High Court for distribution of the estate after the Supreme Court upheld the finding of the Court of Appeal.
The fourth wife wants the court to stop the distribution pending the return of the 88 acres estimated to be worth Sh1.4 billion and in possession of Koinange’s last-born daughter, Lennah Wanjiku.
Mrs Mbiyu told the court that the 88 acres was hived off land that was sold to Centum Investment for construction of Two Rivers without the knowledge of the family and administrators of the estate.
“Pending hearing and determination of this application distribution be stayed,” she asked the court.
Ms Wanjiku in her response said the family was aware of her stay on 88 acres after she was forcefully evicted from the Two Rivers land, arguing that she has made investments worth Sh450 million in the property.
She asked the court to allow her to keep the property, arguing she was willing to surrender other assets due to her with the distribution order.
The disputed assets include one of the biggest undeveloped plots in the Nairobi CBD, a Sh2 billion holding next to the Reinsurance Plaza. There are also shares in numerous firms, including Magadi Soda, BAT, Centum and Limuru Dairy as well multi-billion shilling land and buildings in Kiambu, Nakuru and Mombasa.