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What Amario's kin, girlfriend received from Sh760m estate

 Flamboyant businessman Fai Amario and his wife Monique at their home in Naivasha. [Antony Gitonga, Standard]

Fourteen years after his death, the court wonders whether businessman Fai Amario’s soul is resting in peace following a protracted legal battle over his Sh760 million estate.

In a ruling that declared property worth Sh56 million in the estate to be sold and shared amongst members of his family, High Court judge, Justice Samuel Mochochi said the court had noted acts by certain parties herein of “weaponization of litigation” to negate all principles of justice.

“As we always say of the deceased when bereaved, “Rest in Peace” Fai Amario Omar, Alias Peter Gilbert Njoroge Ng’ang’a passed away on May 23, 2010, and one would wonder if the adage holds in this instance, that the deceased has been resting in peace as it is almost fourteen (14) years since his demise and his estate remains unsettled and the succession has dragged on in court for an unnecessarily long time,” the Judge said.

However, from the decision delivered by Justice Mochochi on Monday, the beneficiaries are to get a share of the Sh56 million property in the real estate that are to be sold, and the proceeds divided as per the percentages set in the ruling.

Among the beneficiaries of the estate are Salome Wanjiku, a woman believed to be the tycoon's girlfriend.

In the ruling, the court distributed part of the estate worth Sh56 million, out of which Wanjiku will get a five percent share.

Mochochi ruled contrary to the wishes of Amario’s daughter Marsha Dee.

Ms Dee had objected to Wanjiku’s inclusion, insisting that she (Wanjiku) was not a spouse to her late father.

“She was just a girlfriend who had a child with my father (Amario). The relationship was not a marriage recognisable under the Kenyan law,” she submitted.

However, Mohochi ruled in favour of the other nine beneficiaries, who signed a consent dated July 20, 2023, to include Wanjiku in the list of beneficiaries.

The nine include Wanjiku, Miki Ng’ang’a, Bernice Njeri, Debbie Jolly, James Kimani, Sheena Euston, Yuri Gilbert, Sheila Wangari and a minor.

The Judge said the court was committed to ensuring Amario’s estate is preserved and administered as per his last wishes.

“The opposition by Dee is not meritorious and is disallowed. It is misconceived, bad in law, and an abuse of this court’s process,” he ruled.

Justice Mochochi ruled that Dee’s objections were demonstrative of dysfunctionality in the administration of Amario’s estate.

He noted that she appeared to attack all collective proposals by her co-administrators; Ng’ang’a, and Euston.

The Judge ruled that on the principle of balance of convenience, the court would side with most of the beneficiaries.

“The decision by the majoritarian is as a result of out-of-court consultations and constant communication. It should be commended and encouraged as it shines a light towards the conclusion of the case,” he ruled.

Justice Mochochi however, called on the administrators and beneficiaries to maintain mutual respect, communication and dialogue in preparations for confirmation of the undistributed estate worth more than Sh704 million.

“I exercise my discretion to allow summons for partial confirmation of the grant as per the consent signed by nine beneficiaries,” he ruled.

As per the consent, Ng’ang’a, Dee, Njeri, Jolly, Kimani, Euston and Yuri will each get 11.85 per cent of the estate, while the minor will get 6.05 per cent, Wanjiku, five percent and Wangari, six percent.

The property being distributed are prime pieces of land located in Mwichiringiri, Naivasha. The family proposed that the property be sold for Sh56 million.

The same, according to the court, will be paid to a joint interest-bearing bank account in the names of the lawyers who represented the beneficiaries.

“The proceeds will thereafter be disbursed from the said account to the respective beneficiaries’ individual accounts,” ruled Justice Mochochi.

The administrators were also directed to file summons for confirmation of the grant for the remaining undistributed estate, within 90 days.

But who was Fai Amario’s?

 Flamboyant businessman Fai Amario. [Antony Gitonga, Standard]

Fai Amario- born Gilbert Njoroge Ng’ang’a, was a Naivasha tycoon, who captured the imagination of many with his unrestrained and lavish lifestyle that bordered on the fanatic.

Amario was the founder of a multi-million shillings empire that he amassed in the alternative alcohol business- established in Naivasha in the 1980s.

According to previous interviews and publications, he started producing Rumulika (derived from rum and liquor), a pineapple-based wine- under the banner Amarillo wineries.

But after 12 years in the business, the businessman took a break and enrolled at the Israel Wine Institute in Rehovot.

He returned to the country and began distilling brands such as Amario’s Sherry, Pooler, Medusa, Uhuru 2000, Kata Pingu, Mahewa and Cantata.

He established a wine and spirit distribution network in Mt Kenya and parts of the Rift Valley.

His products adopted interesting marketing gimmicks like pictures of his hand-cuffed self in a farmer’s cap in what is locally referred to as the “Jaramogi” cap.

On stickers of the plastic bottles, it read; “drink Amario’s Sherry and know why birds fly.”

There were many stories of Amario’s dramatic life.

And one of them is that he placed newspaper adverts in the dailies while seeking a wife.

In 1996, Amario was subject of controversy when he was accused of murdering his two employees.

One of those killed was Gitau Karho, a deputy manager at one of his depots in central Kenya.

According to court records on the murder trial, Karago was said to have called Amario in 1995 to inform him that Sh212,000 was missing from his sales.

In response, Amario sacked Karago together with Makimei Njoroge, who was the depot manager.

A week later, Karago was found dead in Naivasha with a six-inch nail hammered into his head.

Njoroge, who was found unconscious, survived and identified Amario as one of the attackers.

In 2004, officers from the then dreaded Flying Squad CID unit raided Amario’s Naivasha home on suspicion of murdering his wife, Sarah Wanjiu.

Wanjiru was suspected to have been buried in the highly secured compound.

But after digging for hours, the officers were shocked to discover various motor vehicle parts buried in the compound.

Also discovered were ten unlicensed shotguns in a bedroom, seven brand new but dismantled Toyota Prado and Mitsubishi four-wheel drive vehicles, as well as 20 computers.

In 2005, Amario was sentenced to nine years in Kamiti Maximum Prison even as he threatened the magistrate and police officers handling his case who were offered extra security by the state.

While serving his sentence, the businessman appeared to have changed his ways.

But the worst was to come when the tycoon was charged with robbing businessman Mulraj Kanji Patel of his Utility Sports Vehicle (USV), a Toyota Land Cruiser, two rust watches, a gold necklace, a bracelet, two cell phones and cash Sh22,000, all valued at Sh2.8 million.

He also faced charges of being the mastermind of a car theft syndicate. Amario was released after serving three years.

He died in 2010 and was buried in a gold casket he bought for himself. Amario had laid a detailed plan for his burial.

- Additional reporting by Steve Mkawale 

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