DNA test ruled out in battle for estate

Judge Mohochi set aside an order of August 16, 2021. [iStockphoto]

A mother and son at the centre of a Sh200 million succession battle will not undergo a DNA test to prove the maternal relationship, a court in Nakuru has declared.

Justice Samwel Mohochi ruled that subjecting Norah Atieno and Kevin Odhiambo to the test will not enrich the determination and settlement of the succession case in relation to the estate of the late Washington Olweny. Atieno, who claims to be one of Olweny’s widows, is seeking a share of the estate.

Judge Mohochi set aside an order of August 16, 2021 made by Judge Teresia Matheka that directed Atieno and Odhiambo to undergo the test.

He ruled that the same orders were made in the absence of Odhiambo who had no opportunity to be heard before a decision was made against him.

“The orders of August 16, 2021, were issued generally, without a clear direction as to how its findings would enrich the determination of the cause,” ruled Mohochi.

He said the only case before the court was to settle Olweny’s estate and ensure he rests in peace and the DNA test had no bearing on the same.

He regretted that the DNA proceedings initiated by Olweny’s first wife Phelisia Akoth, had derailed the case and delayed it for over two years.

He noted that the DNA proceedings amounted to irrelevant and unnecessary side-shows that lasted for over two years, without helping resolution of the case.

“The objector (Atieno) presented herself to the Government Chemist but Odhiambo did not as the orders were issued in his absence,” said Mohochi.

He dismissed Akoth’s application for Atieno to be found guilty of contempt of court. He said Akoth gave no explanation why she and her family members wanted only Atieno and Odhiambo to be subjected to the test and not any other members.

“The court orders issued are hereby reviewed. The order for DNA testing, is hereby set aside,” ruled Mohochi.

He also took note that due to alleged harassment on both Odhiambo and Atieno, Odhiambo decided to file a formal notice of renunciation of his right to a share in Olweny’s estate.

The aggrieved parties have 30 days to appeal.