In the heat of Kanu’s early 90s politics, controversial farmer and politician, the late Jackson Kibor, registered an investment company - Chelemei Ltd - but only allocated himself five shares.
A minority stake that would later come to haunt him as he battled over control of his multi-billion empire with his ex-wife and estranged six sons.
Speaking candidly to The Standard in 2019 about the goings-on, Kibor said he acquired his wealth through Chelemei Ltd and apportioned his ex-wife Naomi Jeptoo five shares and their six sons 15 each.
Kibor divorced Jeptoo in 2018 after 43 years of marriage
“I was not in the right books with the political establishment at that time and I had to protect my investment,” Kibor narrated.
In an interesting twist, his vast wealth was now threatening to tear his family apart as he was, at the time, facing charges over an incident in which he was accused of threatening to shoot his son Ezekiel Kipng’etich after a dispute over land.
“My third wife has six boys. One died and another one lives in the US. The remaining four boys, who are with me, are the ones now threatening me with a panga,” said the licensed gun-holder while denying threatening to kill Kipng’etich.
He instead accused his son of attempting to attack him with a machete.
“My life was in danger as he attacked me while armed with a machete. I reported the matter at Soy Police station,” he told an Eldoret court which later acquitted him.
In another suit at the Environment and Lands Court, Eldoret, Kibor accused his six sons of trespassing on his Kabenes land and attempting to occupy it without his consent.
A frail, Kibor, then 82, broke down as he told The Standard that he was determined to defend his property. “The recent problems I had with these boys are on my 1,600 acres farm in Moiben. It’s divided into 800 acres on one side and 700 acres on the other,” said the tycoon.
Adding: “I allocated them 180 acres - about 30 each - to till. I also bought them two big tractors so that they could use them to till the land. But they don’t farm; they leased out the land to neighbours and other people. They also sold one of the tractors and replaced the second one with a smaller engine machine. If they did business, by now, they would not be fighting me.”
Claims his sons denied.
According to the six, Kibor sub-divided the 1,250 acres and obtained title deeds in their names. Kibor, however, won the battle for the ownership of the land at the Environment Court in 2020.
An Eldoret-based lawyer was, according to Kibor, to blame for the standoff.
“There is one lawyer who has been coaching these children and their mother. He is the one who has given them an idea of writing dissolutions of the company with an aim of stealing everything. He (the lawyer) tells them that I cannot run the company because I only have five shares. The property is mine and they are edging me out,” he lamented.
The businessman, who married four times and had eight children with his first wife, seven with the second and four with the fourth, then pointed an accusing finger at the police for taking sides in the succession battle. “Before the chaos, I went there (Soy police station) for three days to ask for police protection to access my farm. I even knelt down and cried to be given security to access my farm, but the OCPD declined,” he said.
Claims then-Eldoret West OCPD Samuel Mutunga denied. “There is no bias or favouritism and to me, that is a family matter that should be handled and solved at a different level,” Mutunga told The Standard.
Defending his decision to remarry at 82, Kibor accused his children of soiling his reputation on social media. “They say I have married a young girl (Eunita) but I have not. I am still very strong. I drive myself. It takes me four hours from Eldoret to Nairobi,” said Kibor vowing not to let his children squander his hard-earned property.
“These boys have children who are now my grandchildren. What will they give them if they squander all the property and they don’t work hard to get more? I will not give them any more... I will only distribute my wealth to their children - my grandchildren. And I will give even to the unborn as long as their wives are pregnant. I will write in their names but not in my sons' name,” he vowed.
Jackson Kibor died on March 16, 2022. He was 88.