By Isaiah Lucheli
Nairobi, Kenya: The High Court has invalidated two Wills belonging to the late Starehe MP Gerishon Kirima in a case in which family members are tussling over his more than Sh2 billion estate.
Justice Isaac Lenaola also ordered the relatives to appoint two trustees within seven days.
Kirima died in December 2010 in Johannesburg, South Africa, leaving behind the two Wills, one dated September 10, the same year and another July 20, 2006.
In his judgement yesterday, Justice Lenaola invalidated the two contested Wills signed in London and Nairobi pitting Kirima children against their step-mother Teresia Wairimu and declared the former MP had died without a Will (intestate).
“The Kirima estate shall be distributed under intestacy laws but that is not the end of the matter. His family must find a way of putting closure to the subject of his estate,” he ruled.
To Suffer further
The judge said the family had been divided into two camps one led by Wairimu Kirima and her daughter Alice and the other led by Ann Kirima, a daughter to the late politician.
Lenaola said efforts by Justice David Maraga and himself to put in place measures to save the large estate from depletion failed as neither of the camps were willing to work together.
“I have sat for one year and I have seen the conduct of each of the beneficiary. There is no goodwill on any side and, sadly, it is the whole family that will continue to suffer unless sanity prevails,” said Lenaola.
The judge invalidated the Wills, which granted the power of attorney to his second wife Wairimu.
“I find it strange that the deceased would grant the power of attorney to Wairimu who previously had not featured anywhere else in the business matters of the deceased although she was his last wife,” said the judge.
He added the crucial issues in the attestation for a Will to make it valid were not observed as the Nairobi Will had not been signed on the last three pages and there was no original copy of the building plan for his intended mausoleum.
“It has not been explained to the court why the testator failed to sign the last three pages which had the annexed photocopies of the building plan for his intended mausoleum,” he said.
On the London Will, the judge said it was made upon manipulation of the former MP’s mind by people close to him. It was executed during his admission at a London hospital.
“On both occasions the deceased was a pawn in the game of chess where each side of the family was playing against each other. In the end his free will was lacking and his action can only be said to have been undertaken upon undue influence,” ruled the judge.