Njenga Karume's children abusing court process, trustees say

A suit filed by children of the late billionaire Njenga Karume amounts to abuse of the court process, trustees of the estate have said.

High Court judge Alfred Mabeya heard that the civil case filed by Lucy Wanjiru, Albert Kigera and Samuel Wanjema was misplaced and should be dismissed.

Senior Counsel George Oraro, who is representing the trustees, said a succession case filed in 2014 that is before the Family Division, where the three are contesting their father's will, should be ongoing.

Mr Oraro said the three should have waited for the Family Court to conclude the succession case. However, the three siblings said the court had jurisdiction to hear the case, which they want ruled in their favour.

The Karume siblings have accused Ngugi Waireri, Mary Nduta and Ngugi Gatabaki of interfering with Pizza Garden in Westlands, Nairobi, which is part of the late Cabinet minister's estate.

They filed the civil case seeking to have the trustees committed to civil jail for contempt.

The trio asked the court to cite the trustees for contempt for disobeying court orders that directed them to preserve their father's assets pending the hearing and determination of the case.

Contempt application

They accused the trustees of commencing construction at Pizza Inn, one of the properties in question. The three filed the contempt application arguing that the trustees were abusing the integrity of the court.

"The properties are not being protected as ordered by the court. The interference of the assets took place three days after the order was issued," they said.

Through their lawyer Peter Munge, they said they had never been provided with books of accounts as beneficiaries. They have accused the trustees of planning to lock them out of the estate by operating in secrecy.

They further argued that they had never seen a copy of the said will and were only taken through a TV presentation.

The trustees, on the other hand, argued that Karume chose to entrust the management of his multi-billion shilling estate to a trust rather than his children.

Karume passed away three years ago and left assets ranging from huge tracts of land in prime locations, hotels, housing estates and shareholding in some of the country's blue-chip listed or privately-owned companies.

Njenga had left his sister Nduta Kimithi, businessmen Kung'u Gatabaki, Henry Karume and George Waireri as the managers of the trust. Since then, the three children have been in a tussle with the trustees over the management of their father's property.

Justice Mabeya said a ruling would be issued in two months.