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Two Rivers entangled in Koinange assets row

Two Rivers Mall
Two Rivers Mall located in Nairobi. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

One of the widows of the late minister Mbiyu Koinange has applied for the re-surveying of a parcel of land sold by the family to Centum Ltd #ticker:ICDC, where Two Rivers stands.

In an affidavit filed in court ahead of the distribution of the estate of Mr Koinange, Ms Eddah Wanjiru Mbiyu said a re-survey of the land sold to three parties among them Centum will assist in establishing the proper acreage available for distribution.

Some members of the Koinange family, which is locked in vicious court fight over multi-billion shilling assets are questioning the size of the land sold to Centum.

Centum bought land worth Sh1.1 billion in 2010 and used the property to build the Two Rivers Mall.

“That during the site visit, Mr James Mwarari Gatome suggested for an independent surveyor to verify the actual acreage occupied by Centum Ltd,” Ms Wanjiru said, adding that Centum bought in excess of the quoted 100 acres.

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The family of Mr Koinange has since 1981 been locked in a court battle for the control of his Sh14 billion empire with the dependents of Jomo Kenyatta’s confidant split over the sharing of the vast assets he left behind.

Some of the family members want the size of the property sold to Centum to be reviewed, and for the Nairobi bourse listed firm to pay for additional land if found to have bought more than the 100 acres.

The court will in May 5 issue a judgment on the distribution of the property.

The Two Rivers land was under a property dubbed Closeburn, which had 600 acres that has recently been subdivided.

About 260 acres of the property were sold to an international investment group and another 100 acres to Centum Investment. The remaining 240 acres are valued at Sh2.88 billion.

The daughter of Koinange, Lenah, was accused of hiving off another 88 acres of land adjacent to Two-Rivers Mall—which is considered the juiciest assets among the properties of the late minister.

In July, the court ordered Ms Wanjiku to surrender the 88 acres and the title deed for the property ahead of distribution of the assets.

The distribution of the properties of the powerful Kenyatta-era Cabinet minister in line with a Supreme Court ruling that found Koinange had four widows -- not two -- and which stated that all his dependants should inherit the multi-billion shilling estate. Koinange died on September 3, 1981 without a Will.

At the centre of the latest court battle is whether the assets should be distributed equally among the four widows or the allocation should be based on a list of Koinange’s spouses as well as his recognised children.

Koinange’s third and fourth widows, Margaret Njeri Mbiyu and Eddah Wanjiru Mbiyu, want the property split equally among the four widows in line with Kikuyu customary law.

However, those associated with the first and second widows want the assets shared among 20 dependants, including Koinange’s remaining children and grandchildren as well as his two daughters-in-law.

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