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Koinange daughter clears way for Sh10bn estate distribution

Lennah Wanjiku has dropped plans to appeal the
Lennah Wanjiku has dropped plans to appeal the June 26 court ruling that ordered her to surrender 88 acres of land. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

A daughter of Jomo Kenyatta-era Cabinet minister Mbiyu Koinange has given up the fight for part of the Sh10 billion family estate, setting the stage for a possible end to the 38-year-old succession saga.

Koinange’s last-born daughter, Lennah Wanjiku, has dropped plans to appeal the June 26 court ruling that ordered her to surrender 88 acres of land adjacent to Two-Rivers Mall in Nairobi ahead of distribution of the assets.

“We will not be pursuing the appeal. Pursuing it will only prolong the dispute,” her lawyer Ochieng Oduol said.

“Our client will be asking the court to offer her preference over the property during the distribution of the assets. Every one knows she has developed it and that is where she resides. We will return the title to court as directed.”

The standoff over the land, estimated to be worth Sh1.4 billion, had threatened to stall the implementation of a Supreme Court ruling that found Koinange had four wives -- not two -- and required all their dependents to inherit his Sh10 billion estate.

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Koinange’s fourth wife, Eddah Wanjiru Mbiyu, backed by the majority of the family members, had petitioned the court to have Ms Wanjiku give up the title to the 88 acres.

Ms Wanjiku had opposed the court petition and issued a notice to appeal the June 26 ruling that ordered her to return the title of the Sh1.4 billion property and have it included among the Koinange assets set for distribution.

The top court said the land's subdivision was illegal.

Koinange's two wives, previously sidelined by the High Court, were also allowed to get a share of the estate.

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.

Ms Wanjiku is now expected ask the High Court allow her to keep the property, arguing she was willing to surrender other assets due to her with the distribution order.

She argues that the family is aware of her stay on 88 acres after her forceful eviction from the land where the Two Rivers Mall sits, and that she has made investments worth Sh450 million on the property.

The disputed assets include one of the biggest undeveloped plots in the Nairobi central business district, 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.

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