Court appoints two to administer the estate of Naivas founder

Naivas supermarket branch along Muindi Mbingu Street, Nairobi. [Elvis Ogina, Standard]

The High Court in Nakuru has appointed David Kimani and Grace Wamboi as administrators of the estate of Naivas supermarket chain founder Peter Mukuha.

Mukuha died on May 6, 2010, and left a vast estate, including the most famous shares in Naivas Limited, which operates the Naivas Chain of supermarkets.

Justice Heston Nyaga appointed Kimani and Wamboi in a ruling delivered yesterday on an application filed by Kimani early this year.

The judge in the ruling noted that the family is divided into two factions, with a majority supporting Kimani. However, the support Kimani was getting, the court observed, did not give him a higher right.

“The history of the matter requires that there be checks and balances on any administrator, and the interests of the beneficiaries in the other faction must also be catered for,” ruled the judge.

“I hereby revoke the grant issued to Simon Gashwe and the grant issued to David Kimani and Grace Wamboi as co-administrators,” ruled the judge.

The court said the two will proceed to complete the administration of the multi-million estate if that has not happened already.

Further, the parties were reminded to respect their late father's wishes.

“The parties are reminded that they should respect the wishes of their father, who had placed all of them as beneficiaries in a very privileged position that a majority of Kenyans will only dream about,” stated the judge.

The court, in appointing the two, revoked a grant issued to the late Simon Gashwe.

Gashwe was appointed the administrator of the estate on October 6, 2016. He passed on August 26, 2019. Following the passing on of Gashwe, Grace and her two brothers (Newton Kagira and Kimani) moved to court seeking to replace him.

Kagira filed his case in 2022, while Grace filed hers in 2023. Kimani filed in January this year while the case by Kagira and Grace was awaiting a ruling.

Kagira claimed the estate was going to waste for lack of representation and was likely to be plundered by strangers. He argued that Gashwe’s death was a sufficient reason to revoke the grant of letters of administration.

Wamboi, in her application, said Gashwe passed on before completing the work of administration, adding that the estate of her father has been sued and several cases pending in court.

She said some other properties of the estate of her late father were improperly distributed, and there is a need to have an administrator or administrators to solve the dispute.

Kimani, in his application, said Gashwe had distributed the estate to all the beneficiaries before his death.

He said other beneficiaries of the estate consented to have him appointed the administrator. Teresia Njeri, Charles Gashwe, Grace Muthoni, Ruth Wanjru, Hannah Njri, and Linet Wairimu, according to Kimani, have consented to have him appointed the administrator.

Justice Nyaga, in a ruling on the applications by Grace and Wamboi, had noted that the incessant dispute in the case will make the late Mukuha turn in his grave if he is not doing so already.

The court in determining the case by Kagira, noted that he had admitted that he had cases pending at the Court of Appeal against the late executor Gashwe. The court questioned what would become of the cases pending in the court should he be made the administrator of the estate.

“He will be left wearing the shoes of the appellant and respondent spontaneously and applicant and respondent spontaneously. There will be a conflict of interest,” stated the court.

As for Wamboi, the court noted no issue of conflict of interest was raised. However, the court noted her application seeking to be an administrator was not backed by consent from any of her siblings.

The judge said Grace may appear to be a compromised candidate as compared to Kagira and Kimani.

The judge said having discounted Kagira’s suitability as administrator, on account of a conflict of interest, Grace was directed to seek the consent of other siblings and agree on an additional person as co-administrator.

Kagira backed Grace.

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