Widow wants court to lock co-wife out of multi-million-shilling estate

The widow of a prominent Eldoret entrepreneur of Asian descent has vowed not to share the multi-million-shilling estate left behind by her late husband with a woman who claims to be her co-wife.

While testifying in a succession case involving the estate of her late husband, Mayuriben Manilal told Justice Reuben Nyakundi that her alleged co-wife, Muthoni Ngaruiya, was only her husband’s employee.

Mayuriben told the court that the deceased Lakhman Manilal Ravji never married any other wife apart from her in accordance with their Hindu religion, which forbids polygamy.

“Our Hindu religion, which my late husband passionately believed and practiced, does not recognise polygamy, and for the plaintiff to claim to be my co-wife is ridiculous,” she said.

In the case pending at the High Court in Eldoret, Ms Ngaruiya, an interior designer, claims to have sired a girl now aged 20 with Ravji, a man she claims was her employer turned lover.

Ms Ngaruiya also wants to be recognised as the second wife to the deceased and that the family of the late businessman be compelled to support her daughter financially.

The widow, however, termed Ngaruiya and her daughter as strangers to their family, reiterating that she would not cede any part of her late husband’s property to her.

The widow further claimed that contrary to assertions by the woman that she attended her husband’s cremation ceremony, she never saw her among the family members present.

“I never saw her during the cremation of my husband’s body, as she alleged in her testimony in court. She was nowhere to be seen on that material day when I was giving my late husband a decent send-off alongside other family members. If she was present, she should have introduced herself then,” added the widow.

The widow also told the court that she was not aware whether her late husband had changed his religion and culture, as claimed by the woman during her earlier testimony.

Ngaruiya in her earlier testimony argued that she started courting Ravji in 2003 and was blessed with a girl who is now a university student.

She claimed that Ravji married her under the Kikuyu customary law after visiting her family in Murang’a in 2003. She said the deceased attended marriage negotiations in her home village before she conceived, adding that she is qualified to share part of his vast estate.

“My daughter and I were totally sidelined from distribution of the estate of my late husband,” she said.

Ravji died in October 2020. The businessman had interests in the transport business spanning Uasin Gishu and Nakuru counties.

The case was adjourned until August 2 for further hearing.