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Family contest legality of former mayor's wills in Sh1b estate row

 Former Nakuru Mayor Joseck Thuo. [File, Standard]

The legality of wills in the estate of former Nakuru Mayor Joseck Thuo have been contested, with a section of beneficiaries seeking to have them subjected to forensic investigations. 

The wills include one produced in court by lawyer John Kagucia, who drafted the document. Kagucia produced the document in court after he was summoned. 

The former mayor's family is fighting over his vast estate, estimated to be valued at Sh1 billion

Thuo died on December 27, 2021, at Mater Hospital in Nairobi. He was survived by two widows and five children. 

In August 2022, Harrison Ngeta and Nahashon Kabiri filed a petition at the High Court in Nakuru, seeking confirmation of Thuo's will. In their application, they claimed that the presented will was the original will. 

The two said they were the executors named in the will, further asserting that the late mayor was their uncle. 

Susan Wanjiru Thuo (widow), Nixon Kariuki (son), and Maurine Mukami Thuo (daughter) have since applied to have four copies of the will subjected to forensic investigations. 

The three, in their application, claim the signatures in the wills do not match. 

Mukami’s first name, they noted, was omitted in some of the documents and Kariuki’s name was misspelled.

They also noted that in the wills, a property their father never owned (Gilgil Block 2) was included, and some shares in Abbey Resort were incorrect. 

Kariuki accuses his step-brother James of forging their father’s signatures twice, alleging that Thuo had confided in him about his conduct. 

He alleged that days after his father's death, his driver gave him a copy of the will, which was later scanned by his brother Erick and shared to their emails. 

At the time, he claimed that the will was one copy, but later, his brother Geoffrey came with two copies. 

To clear the doubts, he said, they took the alleged original copy to his lawyer, who observed that it had irregularities, forcing him to take his copy to DCI for investigations. 

Earlier, a document examiner, Emmanuel Kenga, testified that some pages, font, and signature of the former mayor didn’t tally. 

Kenga revealed that the family of the late Thuo had contracted him to examine the will, which they had reasons to believe was not the original document authored by the former mayor. 

He concluded that it was not the original copy of the will as there was evidence of manipulation on it. 

The former chief document examiner at DCI indicated that he received the will in September 2022 and noted the font in some parts of the six pages were different. 

He revealed that the prints on the cover page of the will were produced by a different machine compared to page six. 

The examiner observed that with the signatures availed by the objectors of the will, he noticed no similarities to indicate that they were from a common origin. 

He said the signatures were not the same from page one to five, while on page six he noticed that the signature was similar to the one availed to him. 

 “The questioned signatures on the will from pages 1-5 are of poor quality, and the formation and pattern on the questioned signatures are different from the known signatures,” he explained. 

Also, pages one to five of the will, he said, were typed by different machines and inserted into the original. 

Kenga testified that during the examination of the handwriting, print and signature, he used a microscope and magnifying glasses for enlargement and good observation. 

Ngeta and Kabiri, in their response, said the application by Nixon, her mother and his sister is an afterthought. 

They said the only relevant document is the will attached to their petition, and not counterparts produced in court. 

 High Court judge Heston Nyaga said he will deliver a ruling on April 17.

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