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‘Your husband was mine too’: Aunt and niece in court over Sh100m property

By Daniel Chege | July 29th 2021

A woman and her niece are embroiled in a court battle over late millionaire's wealth. [File, Standard]


A Sh100 million property dispute turned dramatic on Tuesday, July 27, when a 74-year-old woman in Nakuru accused her 51-year-old niece of eloping with her (aunt’s) husband.

Susan Nyambura claims she adopted her niece, Lucy Wanjiku, in the 1970s after learning that she (Nyambura) was unable to bear children.

The two are embroiled in a Sh100 million property row following the death of Nyambura’s husband, Joseph Leitmann, a German national.

Both aunt and niece are claiming they were legally married to Leitmann, who died on August 3, 2001 aged 75.

Nyambura got married to Leitmann in the 1960s under Kikuyu customary rites.

Wanjiku also produced in court documents indicating she got married to Leitmann on June 30, 1995. At the time, Leitmann was 69 years old and Wanjiku, 28.

Leitmann died while owning property worth at least Sh100 million.

His property included rental houses, 5,178 acres of land in Subukia, a hotel, several motor vehicles, his Nakuru residence, drilling equipment store, 2,000 shares in Ukingoni Farm Limited, among others.

Nyambura said her niece, Wanjiku, disinherited her of Leitmann’s property and took sole ownership of the wealth.

Nyambura told Nakuru High Court judge, Hillary Chemitei, that Wanjiku “took advantage of her generosity to enter into a relationship with her (Nyambura’s) husband”.

She said she took Wanjiku in when she was young due to her (Nyambura’s) inability to conceive.

“When Wanjiku joined high school, she started having an intimate relationship with my husband. I didn’t take the rumours seriously until she got married to my spouse,” Nyambura told Justice Chemitei.

The 74-year-old woman wants the courts to revoke letters of property administration given to Wanjiku, saying she too was married to Leitmann and even had two children together.

“My spouse divorced me. I was, therefore, forced to vacate my matrimonial home. My niece, thereafter, moved in,” said Nyambura.

She further accuses Wanjiku of abandoning Leitmann and relocating to the United States.

“She only resurfaced after his death,” said Nyambura, adding: “Leitmann apologised to me after Wanjiku left him. He and I were in the process of reuniting when he died.”

According to Nyambura, Wanjiku returned to Kenya in late 2001 and “forcefully” took control of Leitmann’s property.

“My efforts to reach out to my niece were met with threats, actual violence and I was forced to live in the servant’s quarters,” she testified.

Nyambura told the court that she played an important role in acquisition of Leitmann’s wealth that was valued at Sh100 million as of November 2001.

She wants the court to revoke a grant of administration issued to Wanjiku on July 26, 2016.

She also wants the court to stop Wanjiku from evicting her from the deceased’s estate.

The hearing will continue on November 10, 2021.

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