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Lawyer's death complicates raging Sh1b estate succession case

Juma Kiplenge was the legal representative of former Nakuru-based nominated MP Philip Kamau’s estate since 2012, after the politician’s death on May 1, 2012. He was also the executor of Kamau’s will. [iStockphoto]

The death of Nakuru lawyer Juma Kiplenge has left the Sh1 billion estate of former Nakuru-based nominated MP Philip Kamau in an indeterminate state.

Kiplenge died on October 7, after an illness. He was the legal representative of Kamau’s estate since 2012, after the politician’s death on May 1, 2012. He was also the executor of Kamau’s will.

Kamau’s estate comprises Pinkam house, a slaughterhouse, a funeral home, prime plots, residential homes, shops, land, enterprises, motor vehicles and savings in banks.

He also had shares in Mwariki Farm Limited, Kiamunyi Farm Limited, Embakasi Ranching Limited, and Mangu Enterprise Limited.

Nakuru Judge Teresia Matheka was made aware that Kiplenge managed Kamau’s estate on his behalf, pending the hearing and determination of his succession case.

However, since Kiplenge’s death, Kamau’s kin has failed to agree on who should be the administrator of the estate.

Kamau’s daughter Elizabeth Wanjiku wants to be one of the administrators of the estate.

She submits that she is entitled to manage her late father’s estate because it is her right and entitlement.

However, her brother Joseph Njuguna and her stepmothers Teresia Njeri, Lucy Wanjiru and Margaret Damat are challenging Wanjiku’s proposal.

The widows claim Kamau gifted their a majority share of his estate and Njuguna submits that he is supposed to manage the estate he helped build and care for after their father died.

According to Wanjiku’s lawyer Kamau Kuria, Kamau’s kin have failed to agree on who should manage the estate despite several attempts.

“Before the succession case can proceed, the opposing sides have to agree on the way forward,” Dr Kuria told Judge Matheka.

He also informed the court that a legal representative should be appointed to replace Kiplenge.

In her order, Matheka directed the contesting parties to file applications defending their qualifications in administrative positions within 30 days.

She ordered an application for Kiplenge’s substitution to be filed upon the determination of the application for administration.

Ms Matheka stayed a case by Wanjiku for 60 days to give room for the two applications to be determined.

In the case, Wanjiku sued her stepmother and her brother Njuguna among other stakeholders.

She accuses her brother of colluding with their father to bar her and their other siblings from getting shares in the estate Kamau allegedly shared with Wanjiku’s mother Alice Kahaki.

Wanjiku insists that her mother owned 95 per cent of the listed estate while her father only owned five per cent.

“My father, however, made sure all our property was illegally registered under his name,” she submits.

Wanjiku wants the court to separate her mother’s estate from her father’s before distribution.

Ms Kahaki, who was a renowned Nakuru businesswoman died on August 25, 1983.

Documents in the case show that Kamau disinherited Wanjiku, her five siblings, and his late wife Kahaki, giving them only one per cent of the entire estate.

Kamau allegedly gifted the majority of his estate to his subsequent wives; Njeri, Wanjiru, Damat, and the late Winnie Waithera.

The case will be mentioned on December 15 for further directions.