By Nairobian Reporter
Misfortunes do not seem to come singly. Just weeks after a judgement on his child custody battle with his ex-wife Joyce Akinyi, controversial Nigerian businessman Anthony Chinedu faces a criminal case.
And the outcome of the case in which he has been charged with drug-related offences could potentially have an impact on his obligations in a child custody judgement whose details The Nairobian has obtained.
Anthony Chinedu was last month arrested at his home in Kileleshwa by officers of the Anti-Narcotics Unit and was subsequently charged before magistrate Kiarie Waweru.
Chinedu and his estranged Kenyan wife Joyce Akinyi have in the last few years been involved in a soap opera public tussle over property, most prominently the Deep West Club. Their battles have also spilled to the courts and even found mention in the 10th Parliament.
And in the recent criminal case, the Akinyi-Chinedu battle seemed to continue after the Nigerian accused his ex-wife of having a hand in his present woes.
He was allegedly found with paraphernalia used to manufacture drugs contrary to Section 5 of the Narcotic and Psychotropic Substances Act. The second offence stated that he refused to allow police into his house. The prosecution also accused Chinedu of being in the country illegally and for forging a Nigerian passport. He had earlier complained to the court that the police had illegally confiscated his passport. Chinedu is currently out on a Sh200,000 bail and is scheduled to appear for the hearing of the case on May 6.
But in a separate matter, and away from the cameras, Chinedu and Akinyi have been battling at the Children’s Court since 2007 when the case was filed. The two got married in July 2004 (marriage certificate No 11-0320) and were separated in December 2007. The court noted the public acrimony created by the breakdown in the marriage.
At the centre of the tussle has been the custody and upkeep of two children they had together, born in July 2001 and April 2004 respectively — years before the couple was declared legally married. Another minor, whose date of birth was not indicated in the court documents and who is not Chinedu’s biological child, was also included in the case.
The issues acting Principal Magistrate Kinuthia Mwicigi was expected to determine were the custody of the children and access to them; apportioning parental responsibilities between the parties and the cost of the suit.
Akinyi accused Chinedu of abandoning parental responsibility by failing to provide for the children. He wanted the court to compel Chinedu to pay for school fees, electricity, rent, medical expenses, water bills and other necessities. Chinedu, however, argued that he was denied access to the children but was willing to provide for them.
Akinyi claimed that the annual school fees for two of the children was Sh180,000 while the third child’s fees was Sh700,000. She also claimed her monthly expenses were Sh210,000, excluding education costs. Akinyi gave her income as Sh50,000 — a figure Chinedu disputed. He, for example, noted that Deep West alone raked in about Sh2.2 million in 2011 and Sh3.6 million in 2012. He further submitted that Akinyi had exclusive control of the matrimonial property and income hence she could not claim support.
In an earlier ruling the court had ordered that Chinedu deposits his passport to the court if he was to have access to the children. Akinyi had opposed the move claiming that Chinedu had many passports and therefore could flee with the children. She instead proposed supervised access for him. However, Chinedu had failed to submit his passport as directed by the court.
Chinedu had also alluded to Akinyi’s alleged affair with Raphael Wanjala. Although not part of the court documents, in 2009 Wanjala, a former Budalang’i MP, declared in public that he was marrying Akinyi.
In his judgment delivered in February, the acting principal magistrate chose to deal with Chinedu’s biological children and affirmed Article 53 (1) (e) of the Constitution, which provides that every child has the right to parental care and protection, which includes equal responsibility of the mother and father to provide for the child whether they are married to each other or not. The other child, who does not belong to Chinedu, was left out in the judgement.
Noting that the children had been living with their mother since the parents separated, the magistrate said there was no need to interfere with that arrangement and, therefore, granted Akinyi’s wish of supervised access.
“To that end the defendant (Chinedu) shall have access to his children, and in order to eliminate the risk of flight the access shall be supervised as shall be agreed upon by the parties and it shall be on alternated Saturdays or Sunday,” read the judgment.
On the issue of maintenance, the magistrate adopted the figures Akinyi had submitted in court, including school fees, and ordered that the expenses be shared equally (50-50) between both parties, noting that “no parent is superior to the other”.’ He further directed that Chinedu contributes a monthly Sh70,000 to be paid to Akinyi on or before the 5th of every month starting March. Both parties were ordered to bear the cost of the suit to avoid further tussles.
It remains to be seen how Chinedu will meet his obligations, depending on the outcome of the current drug related case. The fact that the prosecution also intends to push for his deportation could also complicate issues.
In the past Chinedu has resisted attempts to deport him. The allegation that the Nigerian has illegal passports, raised by Akinyi in the Children’s Court, has also come up in the criminal case.
However, speaking to The Nairobian, Akinyi claimed Chinedu has so far not paid his share of the upkeep as ordered by the court.
“I am taking care of my children on my own. I am struggling but I remain focused,” she said.