Man disowns father, demands share of grandfather's estate in succession row

Jonah Rutto wants a share of the estate of his late grandfather Kireger Kutto. [iStockphoto]

A man embroiled in a succession dispute over his late grandfather's Sh500 million estate has disowned his biological father, saying the grandfather adopted him.

Jonah Rutto wants a share of the estate of his late grandfather Kireger Kutto, who was a prominent dairy and cereal farmer in Uasin Gishu County.

Mzee Kutto died intestate aged 99. He was survived by four widows- Sarah, Rebecca, Mary and Esther and 27 children.

He owned hundreds of acres of land and prime plots in Burnt Forest, Ziwa and Sergoit in Uasin Gishu County.

In his court papers filed before Justice Reuben Nyakundi at the High Court in Eldoret, Jonah has accused his father, Philip Kutto, of sidelining him in the distribution of the multi-million estate.

Jonah referred to his father as a brother and not a father, saying the grandfather cared for him (Jonah).

Philip and his young brother Daniel Kiplagat had been granted letters of administration to the vast estate of their father, who died 19 years ago.

Jonah, together with a woman identified as Anne Chepkorir, claimed that he is entitled to 80 acres of land that form part of the deceased’s estate.

He said that his father (Mzee Kutto) died intestate, leaving behind adopted and biological children. Jonah argued that he is among the children his grandfather took care of through his second wife, Rebecca, since childhood.

He further explained that the second widow (Rebecca) was not blessed with children and his late ‘father’ who died before effecting transfer of the said portion of land to him had adopted him.

“We have been illegally and maliciously excluded as beneficiaries in the estate of the deceased by his adopted children,” argued Jonah.

Jonah accused the administrators of concealing material facts to the trial court to disinherit them.

He asked the court to consider his petition and issue appropriate orders, saying he risks losing their only share of livelihood and investment.

However, Philip argued that to the best of his knowledge, the appellant was never one of the children of late Kutto, whether adopted or biological, as alleged in the application filed in court.

He told the court that Jonah was his son and Chepkorir was a stranger to them.

“The two are not entitled to any portion of the deceased’s estate as they are neither children, beneficiaries nor dependents of the deceased. They have no right to lay claim on the deceased's estate,” Philip said.

He said at no time did his son become an adopted child of the deceased, as he alleges in his court documents.

“I raised Jonah until he attained the age of maturity/adulthood. As for the second objector, she is unknown to me as well as the entire family of the late Kireger Kutto,” he said.

Philip said that his stepmother, Rebecca, only had one child, Sarah Chemeli, and at no time did he see her stay with an adopted child.

“When Rebecca died, her eulogy listed all her children, including step-children and nowhere were the two, Jonah and Chepkorir, mentioned as children of the said widow as they allege,” he argued.

The matter will come for further directions on May 21, 2024.