Two women have emerged to claim a share of the estate of the late Jonathan Kipkemboi Moi, the eldest son of retired President Daniel arap Moi, in a suit where the duo want the court to declare them joint administrators of the multi-million shilling estate.
Beatrice Mbuli and Faith Nyambura have separately challenged an earlier court order that granted Jonathan’s first wife, Sylvia, temporary rights to administer his estate. The two argue that they have been sidelined from seeking a piece of Jonathan’s wealth, arguing that they were married to him through traditional ceremonies.
At the time of his death on April 20, Jonathan had not prepared a will, a lacuna that has now set the stage for what could turn out to be a protracted succession battle.
Ms Mbuli and Ms Nyambura accuse Sylvia of clandestinely applying for administration of Jonathan’s estate. They also argue that she had undervalued his assets and transferred some of the properties to herself.
“The respondents (Sylvia and her son Clint Moi) have massively devalued the deceased's estate, which I understand to be massive and running into hundreds of millions of shillings,” said Ms Nyambura. “The respondents have been sidelining me and the children with a view to denying me access to my husband’s assets.”
She also alleges that the Moi family had blocked them from participating in Jonathan’s burial. She says she is entitled to Sh1 million monthly from Jonathan’s estate, and that she risks sliding into destitution without the upkeep money.
Last month, the High Court allowed Sylvia to temporarily hold administrative powers over her late husband’s estate to ensure that his businesses continue to receive and pay money due to them. The powers, however, have been limited to paying bills and preserving Jonathan’s estate until the court makes a final determination on the administration application.
Jonathan’s estate, said to be worth Sh30 million, is pretty modest, especially when placed alongside that of his father and his younger brothers, Gideon and Philip. The estate comprises a piece of land in Nairobi’s Industrial Area valued at Sh15 million and shares in Tiro Holdings Ltd (Sh10 million) and Nakuru Oil Mills (Sh5 million), according to court documents.
“The respondents have been misappropriating the deceased’s assets and transferring into their names without my knowledge and consent,” claims Ms Nyambura, adding that she had three children with Jonathan who have fees arrears of Sh631,206 at an international school in Nakuru.
Ms Mbuli has echoed similar claims and argues that her two children sired with Jonathan are at risk of missing out on their father’s property.
“The applicant and her children stand to be prejudiced as they will be denied their right to inheritance,” says Ms Mbuli through her lawyer, adding that she got married to Jonathan in 1998. She says there was an agreement that Ms Nyambura, Sylvia and herself would jointly apply for letters of administration on behalf of other households. However, Sylvia has been accused of proceeding without informing the two other widows and seeking a letter of administration that was published in the Kenya Gazette on September 13, declaring her the sole administrator.
The parties were supposed to object to the notice within 30 days, but the period lapsed without objections from either Ms Mbula and Ms Nyambura.
Justice Aggrey Muchelule yesterday granted Ms Mbula and Ms Nyambura more time to file papers in a succession case pending before the High Court. The two had asked the court to grant them at least seven days to file their objections in the case.
With the estate being valued at Sh30 million, Gideon has agreed to guarantee half the amount, while Philip will stand in for the balance. This means that if Sylvia is granted full administration powers and the estate is mismanaged, Gideon and Philip will together pay Sh30 million to cater for any losses. They could also be dragged into the dispute.