Women not entitled to company shares during divorce, court rules

Justice John Onyiego dealt women a major blow when he ruled in favour of former Senator Johnstone Muthama in a case between him and his ex-wife. [Courtesy]

Women eying company shares belonging to their husbands have been dealt a major blow after it emerged that they have no say in such property when they separate.

The High Court ruled that assets belonging to a company cannot be a subject of a matrimonial property dispute.

“It is inappropriate to issue injunctive orders against limited liability companies with distinct legal entities in matters to which they are not parties,” Justice John Onyiego said when ruling in a case in which former Senator Johnstone Muthama’s ex-wife, Ms Agnes Kavindu, wanted him stopped from wasting or alienating 50 per cent of his shares in two companies.

After their divorce in 1983, Kavindu had filed an application to have a High Court decision in February that declined to stop the senator from evicting her, suspended pending hearing and determination of her intended appeal.

Through the same application, Kavindu had asked the court to stop her ex-husband from wasting, damaging or interfering with his 50 per cent shares held in JNM Holdings Properties Limited and Rockland Kenya Limited Properties.

The properties comprised of 14 pieces of land are mainly located in Nairobi and Machakos counties. They include a piece of land in Gigiri and Kinyali House in Machakos.

Kavindu told the court that she was likely to be evicted from her matrimonial home in Mua, Machakos County, adding that the rest of the properties might also be alienated by Muthama.

Dirty hands

She said that her intended appeal against the February ruling has high chances of success considering that the court determined the main case at an interlocutory stage.

Muthama through his lawyer Ochieng Oduol told the court that the application was not merited as it sought injunctive orders against properties that belong to companies who are not parties to the dispute.

Muthama said some of the company properties have been charged to various financial institutions, adding that the court should not grant orders that will cause great hardship against him and third parties.

He argued that the woman was calling for the court “to declare her a spouse through back door."

The court was told that Kavindu had gone to court with “dirty hands” having not disclosed that she was no longer residing in the Mua property. She is said to have moved out of the property in August 2017 for Nairobi’s Kileleshwa area.

On the issue of one of the properties in Mua, the court was told that it belongs to their son.