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Tears as woman in the battle for Nyachae billions is put to task

 Former Cabinet Minister Simeon Nyachae. [File, Standard]

A woman claiming to be the widow of former powerful Cabinet Minister Simeon Nyachae was on Wednesday hard-pressed to explain her links with Nyachae.

During the hearing before Family Court Judge Eric Ogola, Margaret Chweya was at pains to explain whether she was married to Nyachae through Kisii traditions.

At the same time, she was put to task to explain whether traditional marriage rites were conducted.

She had alleged that the former minister in President Daniel Arap Moi, and Mwai Kibaki’s governments, married her through customary marriage.

The woman in her maiden testimony stated that her late uncle told her that Nyachae had sent an envelope as her dowry.

However, Nyachae’s family cast doubts on her allegations. The larger family argues that she was never married to the patriarch and her children were born by other men to who she allegedly married.

One of the questions paused to Chweya was about James Leroy Totten, a man who claimed to have married her in America.

She admitted to knowing Totten but stated that he was the son to her university friend.

“Do you know Loren Totten?” Justice Ogola asked Chweya.

"Leroy Totten was ah, ah a son of my student friend. Okay, what happened was I was a student in America and I don’t know some of you have been to America, tuition is very expensive, so Leroy’s mother was my friend, she said, she told me, she found me photocopying my prospective formals because I did not have textbooks at that time.

She asked and I talked to her and she said you can get funds to go to school to buy books either when adopted by an American or get married by an American. I said, how does that work? That is how I came to know Totten. But Totten as a husband I have never been married to him,” testified Chweya.

Court documents by Nyachae’s family indicated that following private investigations in Kenya and the US, Chweya was married to Totten in America.

The woman sued Charles Nyachae, Angela Nyachae, and Eric Nyachae, who the former minister appointed as executors of his will in order to be recognized as the deceased’s fourth wife.

 In her case, Chweya claims that she married Nyachae in 1973. However, asked by the executor’s lawyer George Muchiri, who received the dowry, she claimed her late uncle received an envelope.

In a session that saw her shed bouts of tears, Chweya claimed she’s been known to the family and has had previous communications with Nyachae’s eldest son Charles (currently serving as a judge at the East Africa Court of Justice).

The woman claimed that during Nyachae's burial, she sent envoys to be allowed to attend the ceremony.

In her testimony, she stated that Nyachae’s surviving widows- Martha and Grace spoke as the widows of the deceased. However, she accused Charles of failing to recognize her despite him allegedly previously referring to her as a mother.

In documents filed before the same court, the Nyachae family claims that Chweya has been married four times in her life.

In the private investigators' reports filed before the court, Margaret was born and has always been known as Margaret Kerubo Chweya. 

The reports read that she changed her name in California to include the Nyachae name, only after Nyachae had died.

During the hearing, she was also put to the task to explain to the court why she took 50 years to change her name and why she did it in California.

Chweya was also asked whether she was willing to have her three children undergo a DNA test to ascertain whether her testimony was truthful.

Meanwhile, the reports before the court also indicated that Chweya was also allegedly married to George Gordon Odera and Totten, who are said to reside in the USA.

In her testimony, she said that Gordon was a stalker and a dangerous man who had killed another person in the USA.

According to her, Gordon went under after an official letter was written to her by Nyachae to keep off.

"Do you know him?" the judge asked.

"Yes I had somebody stalking me while I was at school and I learned from the Kenyan consulate that man was called George Gordon Odero and when they investigated, he kept on bothering me, stalking me and I reported him to my husband...I went ahead and did what I did... 

That is a dangerous man. You do not know what he can do to you, he can kill you," she claimed.

In Kenya, it was alleged that she was married to Jacob Machuki Mokaya and Michael Opondo. She however denied marrying and having children with the two.

In the case, Machuki has also filed his affidavit. He states that he was born in 1949. He claims that they were married under customary law and parted ways in 1978. He denies any knowledge of her being married to Nyachae.

“At no time during our marriage did the first applicant indicate that she was ever married to the Hon. Simeon Nyachae and to the best of my knowledge she was never married to Hon. Simeon Nyachae,” claimed Machuki.

Chweya however stated Machuki was a stranger to her.

"I never married a Machuki. Never have I ever had a boyfriend," she said.

"But, do you know him?" Justice Ogola asked her.

She replied: " I have never had a boyfriend called Machuki your honour."

"Do you know him?" the judge pressed.

"Machuki, I can't remember him. He's never been in my life."

At the same time, the other man, Pondo, claims that they married under Kisii customary law and had a son named John Paul. 

Pondo stated that he was not aware of Chweya’s subsequent marriage to Nyachae.

He also states that John Paul was baptised at Holy Family Cathedral (current Holy Family Basilica) by Reverend Thomas Maegher and his baptism card clearly indicated him as the father and Margaret as, the mother.

Pondo claims that Chweya did not inform him of ever marrying the former minister. She also denied knowing him.

Meanwhile, a document that is part of the investigations indicates that Margaret changed her name from Margaret Kerubo Chweya to Margaret Chweya Nyachae before a USA court Judge Ovilia Rosales in 2021.

On the other hand, another document also before the court indicates that John Paul Chweya changed his name to John Paul Chweya Nyandusi Nyachae on February 4, 2022, before the Superior Court of California, Los Angeles County.

In her case, Chweya is opposed to Charles, Angela, and Eric being granted powers as executors by the court.

Chweya claims that she was married to Nyachae in a customary marriage in 1973. According to her, they had three children together.

At the same time, Chweya states that her children considered Nyachae as their father and have never recognized anyone else as such. She further claimed that Nyachae provided for her and the children, even ordering banks to give her unsecured loans to protect her.

She claims that Charles knew her as a stepmother while the Nyachae’s secretary informed her when he died through a text.

In her case, she also claims that the former minister relocated her and the children to the United States to avoid issues with his other wives.

 Chweya alleges that he allegedly bought her a house in Loresho, which she collected rent while in the USA. In addition, she claims that she was always faithful to Nyachae and has never divorced him.

Case continues today.

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