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Why President Barack Obama never inherited father's estate

By Nyambega Gisesa | July 16th 2015

NAIROBI: President Barack Obama wrote a letter to the High Court in Nairobi denying any claims to his father's estate in a legal brawl that started three months after the death of Obama senior.

Obama wrote the letter in July 1997, six months after winning the Illinois Senate seat, disavowing any claims he might have on his father's estate, that was valued at about Sh410,500 at the time of his death.

The elder Obama's estate included Sh55,933, money from a life insurance cover that has never been paid to his beneficiaries upon his death. The money is being held by the Unclaimed Financial Assets Authority (UFAA).

The US President, who is making his first State visit to the country of his father next week, wrote the brief letter distancing himself from a family tussle that had divided his family into two warring camps.

In the legal tussle, the President's name is mentioned in case files in Nairobi's High Court as Barack Hussein Obama II.

The fight over Obama senior's estate started three months after his death when some of wives got embroiled in a legal tussle over who among his "wives" he actually married.

Some of his children were also embroiled in the battle on who among them was his legitimate heir.

"The colourful legal drama, which went on for years, pitted the first wife against the fourth, the eldest son against the youngest, and generally divided the family into two warring camps," author Sally Jacobs writes in her book, "The Other Barack: The Bold and Reckless Life of President Obama's Father".

"If that were true, then none of his subsequent three marriages—including the one with the president's mother—would have been legitimate. A host of family members who took sides on the issue provided conflicting affidavits peppered with name-calling and insults," the book says.

The brawl is captured in Grace Kezia Aoko Obama, affidavit in Succession Cause No. 233 of 1985, in the matter of the estate of Barack Hussein Obama, High Court of Kenya, Nairobi, November 1988. In her affidavit, she claimed she had never divorced her husband, insisting she was still his wife.

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