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Economy

State takes over Kanyotu, JM assets in inheritance tiff

Unclaimed Financial Assets
Unclaimed Financial Assets Authority CEO John Mwangi. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

The Treasury has taken over idle assets of fallen Kenyatta-era top officials over family disputes denying beneficiaries a legal document they require to access their multi-billion shilling wealth.

Longtime spy James Kanyotu, politician JM Kariuki and Mbiyu Koinange are among prominent individuals whose dividends and shares are held at the Unclaimed Financial Assets Authority (Ufaa) following family feuds that have frozen the sharing of their properties.

The Middle East and Barclays #ticker:BBK banks surrendered dividends and shares belonging to the late Kanyotu who served founding President Jomo Kenyatta and later President Daniel arap Moi as intelligence head for 27 years.

The Ufaa has also received BAT #ticker:BAT shares of undisclosed value belonging to JM as well as assets owned by Koinange, a one-time Cabinet minister.

Their families have for decades been locked in inheritance fight that have denied them a valid will or letters of administration required to gain authority over assets.

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“All we require from the claimants is a valid will or letters of administration in the absence of the will,” said a source at the State agency who sought anonymity, adding that families locked in succession fights tend to lack the two documents

While JM died on March 2, 1975, sibling rivalry emerged years later after his first wife appointed as the estate’s administrator was accused of plundering the estate, hurting interests of two co-wives and eight children.

In Koinange’s family, his four wives and their children have been in and out of court for decades since his death on September 2, 1981 over control of his Sh10 billion property.

More than 11 years after the death of spymaster Kanyotu, court is yet to decide how his property estimated at Sh20 billion will be shared. As of October 31, 2018, the Ufaa held Sh13.1 billion in surrendered cash and 1,451 safe deposit boxes.

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