DCI wades into legal battle over ex-mayor's Sh1 billion estate

Former Nakuru Mayor Joseck Thuo. [File, Standard]

The fight over the control of former Nakuru Mayor Joseck Thuo's Sh1 billion estate has taken a new twist after the Directorate of Criminal Investigations waded into the matter.

The DCI in a letter signed by Thomas Chepkonga and addressed to the Deputy Registrar of the High Court in Nakuru seeks to be supplied with copies of contested Wills.

The detectives said that they have been investigating an alleged case of forgery of a Will that was reported vide OB No. 71/12/06/2022 by Nixon Kariuki Thuo and others.

The letter received in court on April 18, indicates that an inquiry file was opened by the DCI Nakuru West to ascertain the allegations in order to charge or not.

The DCI said that statements were recorded from both parties who collaborated well but they are stuck as the documents are in the custody of the High Court in a succession case.

“For the interest of transparency and of justice for both parties, it would be very prudent for all the Will in question to be subjected to forensic analysis. We therefore pray and humble request that the four originals will be supplied to us for onward transmission to the forensic examination as it is the only remaining part for the investigations to be complete,” read the letter in part.

The letter by the DCI was filed a day after High Court Judge Heston Nyaga declined an application by Nixon, his mother Susan Wanjiru, and sister Maureen Mukami to have the copies of Wills subjected to forensic analysis.

Thuo died on December 27, 2021, leaving behind two widows and five children.

In August 2022, Harrison Ngeta and Nahashon Kabiri initiated a petition to the High Court in Nakuru, seeking probate of Thuo's Will. In their application, Ngeta and Kabiri claimed that the presented Will was the original document of the deceased.

They asserted that they were the executors named in the Will and the late mayor was their uncle.

Early this year, Nixon, his mother, and his sister applied to have the Wills subjected to forensic analysis to establish their true status.

Nixon claimed that the signatures in the documents do not match and one of the copies contains an endorsement while the other does not.

He accused his step-brother James of allegedly forging their father’s signatures twice, claiming that Thuo had confided in him.

Nixon stated that he knew his father's signature but what was on the Will didn’t tally with only the last page being genuine.

He alleged that days after his father's death, his driver gave him a copy of the Will which was later scanned by his brother Erick and shared to their emails.

At the time, Nixon claimed that the Will was one copy but later his brother Geoffrey came up with two copies.

To clear the doubt, he said, they took the alleged original copy to his lawyer who observed that it had irregularities forcing him to take his copy to DCI for investigations.

Earlier only a single copy of the Will was subjected to forensic investigation.

In October 2023, forensic document examiner Emmanuel Kenga informed the court that part of the pages were not matching.

He revealed that the family of the late Thuo had contracted him to examine the Will which they had reasons to believe was not the original document authored by the deceased.

Kenga concluded that it was not the original copy of the Will as there was evidence of manipulation and insertion on it.

Kenga, a former chief document examiner at DCI indicated that he received the Will in September 2022 where he compared the handwriting.

The font in some parts of the six pages was different indicating that it was from a different source.

He revealed that the prints on the cover page of the Will were produced by a different machine compared to page six.

The examiner observed that with the signatures availed by the objectors of the Will, had no similarities to indicate that they were from a common origin- from some pages.

Kenga said that from page one to five the signatures were not the same, while on page six, he noticed that the signature was similar to the one availed to him.

He noted that pages one to five of the Will, were typed by different machines and inserted into the original.

Kenga testified that during the examination of the handwriting, print, and signature, he used a microscope and magnifying glasses for enlargement and good observation.

The other siblings- James, Geoffrey, and Erick insist the Will is genuine and the court should rely on its content.

Justice Nyaga while ruling on the application said the expert report filed in court did not raise valid points to warrant any further investigations.

“Considering the circumstances of this case, it is my view that the aforesaid expert report tendered to support the applicants’ case does not raise any valid point to warrant any further investigations,” ruled the judge.

He noted that the three counterparts of the Will, in their original form, including the one kept and availed by Nixon, his mother, and his sister are in the custody of the court and can be compared.