The late Uasin Gishu politician and farmer Jackson Kibor’s widows and children are putting up a fierce challenge against a quest by the youngest widow Eunitah Kibor to take control of his Sh16 billion on the strength of a contested will.
Eunitah, 43, wants to be the sole administrator of her husband’s estate, claiming that she is the only widow of the late Kibor as her husband had divorced his two other wives. Mary Kibor, the first wife, died in 2010.
Eunitah lodged a petition for the grant of letters of administration of the estate, stating that her husband’s will named her the executor of the estate.
She added that the vast estate needed comprehensive administration, failure of which, it would waste away.
“I am the sole surviving spouse of the deceased and, therefore, the first in order of preference to be appointed and issued the grant of letters of administration. The estate could waste away since the deceased’s land over 2,000 acres has outsiders who are starting to encroach,” said Eunitah in her petition.
Eunitah further accused her step-children, who are the objectors in the case, of intermeddling with the estate and evicting her from her matrimonial home and lands.
She asked the court to adopt the will she tabled in court, saying that it reflected her husband’s true wishes.
However, her step-children, as well as the other widows (second and third) have vehemently dismissed the purported will, saying
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The 29 objectors are represented by 10 lawyers, led by Ken Maiyo and Nixon Koitui, while the embattled tycoon’s young wife Eunitah is represented by lawyer Karen Chesoo.
While testifying before Justice Reuben Nyakundi on Monday, lawyer Jonah Korir, who drafted the contested will, told the court that the deceased was mentally sound when he gave him instructions on how he wanted his multi-billion shilling assets distributed among his family members, churches, squatters, and persons he owed.
Korir tabled the document being contested by a section of the family, including Kibor’s second and third wives and their children, as a forgery.
Korir claimed in his testimony that months before Kibor’s demise, he called him for a meeting at his daughter’s Elgon View residence on the outskirts of Eldoret town, where he gave him instructions to draft his Will.
He claimed to have represented the late Kibor on several cases, especially at the Environment and Land Courts, but declined to mention the cases when asked by the objector’s lawyers during cross-examination.
Lawyer Korir, who is also listed as one of the executors of the estate in the purported will, dismissed claims by the objectors that the deceased was sickly and not of his mind.
“To the best of my knowledge, the late Kibor was of sound mind at the time the Will was drafted, and he could comprehend what he was doing. He gave his instructions in the Nandi/Keiyo dialect while I translated his wishes into English,” said Korir.
He further told the court that the deceased’s Will was executed on February 27, 2021, at Eldoret High Court’s parking yard and witnessed by two lawyers namely, Joseph Songok and David Korir.
Korir told the court how the late tycoon invited him to his rural home in Kabenes village in Soy Sub County, where he had hosted his close family members, relatives, friends, and church and political leaders.
He said the late Kibor wanted to disclose the content of his Will to his family members and wanted him to read the summary of the contents of the Will to them.
Korir argued that some discrepancies pointed out in the will by the objector’s advocates, including different dates, were only ‘bonafide errors’.
“I cannot give the specific details of the parcels of land mentioned in the will because the family members understand the bequests of the deceased. My instructions were to capture the wishes of my client (Kibor) and not to conduct due diligence on his property. I was under a legal obligation to doubt his instructions,” argued Korir when questioned about the details of the property in the will.
But lawyer Ken Maiyo, representing some objectors, including late Kibor’s eldest son, Philip, told the court that his clients want the will to be examined by a forensic document examiner to determine its validity.
Naomi Kibor, the third widow, said that the will could have been made out of fraud or coercion, noting that her late husband was critically ill at the material time and was not in control. She claimed that the signature was forged.
“On the date, the will is purported to have been written, the deceased was sick, having contracted COVID-19 in 2020. Save for Deputy President William Ruto, who visited him, the deceased was not in a position to interact with other people or visit a law firm to write a will,” claimed Naomi.
Her statement was reiterated by other objectors who argued that their father’s purported will was vague, inconsistent, and void of uncertainty.
“On the day the deceased is purported to have executed the will, he was neither in the presence of the purported witnesses nor of the propounders of the purported will. The will also purports to make bequests of property the deceased does not own or that are non-existent,” said the objectors.
The children further accused their stepmother and advocate Korir of engaging in a scheme to waste and plunder the estate.
“It is strange how the advocate who prepared the will constituted himself as an advocate and executor of the will at the same time. The executor is seriously conflicted,” read the affidavit of one of the sons.
The children argued that their father’s wishes earlier communicated to them by their father’s advocate, the second petitioner, were different from the contents of the purported will.
Jepchirchir Kibor, a daughter of the deceased, also challenged her stepmother’s petition, terming it a falsehood.
She argued that her father had four wives (the first one deceased) and that three surviving widows were left. She asked the court that each household be represented in the administration of the estate, saying that each household was an equal beneficiary to the estate.
Although Kibor maintained all his wives in his various farms, he had sought divorce from his two wives.
In October 2017, an Eldoret court officially dissolved Kibor’s marriage with his second wife, Josephina Jepkoech, a woman he had married in February 1965.
With the succession case in place, Josphina has asked the court to ascertain matrimonial property acquired during her marriage with Kibor, divide the property and her portion hived off and register it in her name.
Kibor also divorced his third wife, Naomi, in December 2018. Kibor and Naomi had married in 1975, under Nandi customary law.
Kibor died on March 16, 2022, at St Luke’s Hospital in Eldoret.