Woman testifies against aunt in fight for Sh100m German's estate

Joseph Leitmann,The German Tycoon. [Courtesy]

Lucy Wanjiku, 53, has been implying for the past two decades that her aunt Susan Nyambura, 74, was only a housemaid and not the late German tycoon Joseph Leitmann's co-wife.

Both claim to be Leitmann's widows, and have been embroiled in a bitter legal battle over control of his estate, which is estimated to be worth more than Sh100 million.

Leitmann died without leaving a will on August 3, 2001, leaving behind 5,178 acres of land, houses, hotels, vehicles, boreholes, machinery, businesses, and 2,000 shares in Ukingoni Farm Ltd.

On February 13, when Wanjiku took the stand from the United States and appeared virtually before Nakuru High Court Judge Hillary Chemitei, she was unable to back up her claims that her aunt was a housekeeper.

During her cross-examination by Nyambura's lawyers, Kamoing Judith and Owino Oenga, things got out of hand. Wanjiku, a nurse, was unable to answer some basic questions about her aunt. She insisted that Nyambura had never been married to Leitmann.

First, Wanjiku failed to prove to the court that she knew her aunt well enough to understand her relationship with Leitmann.

She said she visited Leitmann’s house once, when she was 10 and there she found her aunt and her grandmother. She could not explain how after visiting her aunt once when she was 10, was enough for her to draw the conclusion that her aunt had no relationship with Leitmann.

“Can you tell the court how a 10-year-old who met her aunt once could know so much about her?” said Kamoing.

Wanjiku was unable to answer the questions and requested that they be directed to her lawyers, who would respond on her behalf.

Wanjiku denied that her aunt and Leitmann adopted her when she was 10 years old, raised her in the house, and educated her until she entered college. She stated that she first met Leitmann in 1986, when she was 19 years old, and that she began dating him after her friend introduced her to him.

She, on the other hand, was unable to provide evidence to the court that Nyambura had no relationship with Leitmann prior to meeting her when she was 10 and before meeting him when she was 19.

“Do you have any evidence to prove that your aunt was never married to the deceased?” asked Oenga.

“I do not know where she lived and I cannot remember. All I can say is I heard that my aunt lived in the servant quarters,” Wanjiku said.

Her only proof was that she heard Leitmann had a foreign wife who died in 1992.

Wanjiku was challenged based on her mother Margaret Wangari’s testimony that said she entered into a relationship with Leitmann while still in high school.

This could overrule her testimony that she met Leitmann while she was younger.

She disowned the testimony and claimed that Wangari was not her mother and her mother’s name is Esther Wanjiru.

However, as she continued testifying, she later admitted that Wangari was indeed her mother.

Although she insisted that her parents raised and educated her, she also admitted that they were drunkards and could not pay fees.

Wanjiku denied snatching Leitmann from Nyambura and said she did not take advantage of her youth and education to seduce him.

She said she married him in 1995 but left for the US three years later for college.

“I did not desert him nor my four children. He gave me his blessings. I also did not run away with another man as claimed."

She could not explain why she did not visit Leitmann when he was sick and why she could not attend his cremation after his deat.