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Niece battles auntie in court over Sh100m property left by a man who was allegedly married to both

By Daniel Chege | September 21st 2020

Two relatives who were allegedly married to a foreigner have taken their battle for the control of his Sh100 million estate to court.

Lucy Wanjiku, 50, and her aunt Susan Nyambura aged 72 are seeking control of the property left behind by businessman John Leitmann, who died on August 3, 2001.

Wanjiku moved to court last week to defend a grant letter of administration issued to her claiming she is the only legal wife of the late Leitmann.

According to court documents, Wanjiku is the daughter of Nyambura’s sister and was married to Leitmann.

She wants to block her aunt from the estate comprising a plot in Nakuru Town East Constituency with several houses standing on it, land measuring 3,538 acres, and another 1,640 acres.

Motor vehicles

There is also a hotel, three motor vehicles, boreholes and machinery business and 2,000 shares in Ukingoni Farm Company Limited.

Leitmann died leaving a Sh87 million estate that is now valued at over Sh100 million.

In her replying affidavit before Justice Teresia Matheka, Wanjiku said Nyambura was never married to Leitmann and that she was a housemaid. She accuses Nyambura of lying to court over the roles she played in Leitmann’s life. “My aunt was a housemaid and she is being delusional by claiming that she was married to my husband,” submits Wanjiku.

Wanjiku adds that as a house help, her aunt had no right to claim a share in the property as her salary catered for her contribution.

“She is just an applicant living in fantasy that she was a wife of a mzungu at one a point in her life,” reads the reply.

Genuine and gazetted

Wanjiku claims that she did not have an illicit affair as claimed by Nyambura. “Our relationship was built on true love that ended up in a marriage.” She submits that the grant and letter of administration issued to her were not only genuine and gazetted on December 14, 2001, but also that nobody came to dispute it for more than 17 years.

She maintains that she cared for her aunt and never mistreated her as claimed.

Wanjiku wants Justice Matheka to dismiss the application by Nyambura and declare her (Wanjiku) as the legal and only beneficiary to Leitmann’s properties.

Wanjiku was replying to her aunt who wants the High Court to revoke the grant issued to her on July 26, 2016.

In her application, Nyambura accused Wanjiku of fraudulently obtaining the grant by making it look like she was the only surviving widow to Leitmann.

“The respondent concealed to court the fact that the applicant, who is her aunt, was her co-wife and she was also a surviving widow,” submitted Nyambura.

Nyambura said she was married to Leitmann in a Kikuyu customary marriage in the 1960s and through her hard work, they both accumulated wealth, which she took charge of.

Because she was not blessed with children, Nyambura claims she took Wanjiku when she was only a toddler, and raised her.

She, however, claims that her niece had an affair with her husband and got two children with him, which led to their divorce.

“Leitmann divorced me and contracted a marriage with Wanjiku in 1995.”

Documents in court seen by The Standard showed that Leitmann and Wanjiku got married on June 30, 1995. At that time Leitmann was 69 and Wanjiku was 28. The case will be mentioned on November 5 for direction.

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