Administrators, beneficiaries in fight over estate of former MP

James Bowen 100-acre farm in Rongai Sub County. The farm is among properties of the late politician Kibowen Komen. Bowen is one of his grandsons. [Daniel Chege, Standard]

A court battle has ensued between four administrators and over 20 beneficiaries of the estate of the late politician Kibowen Komen.

The surviving family of the late politicians have differed on the distribution of his estate which includes land measuring over 4,000 acres, several properties, and money in banks.

On March 20, 2024, Nakuru Judge Samwel Mohochi gave the administrators; Peter Kipruto, Abdulghani Mohamed, Abdulkadir Mohammed, and Evan Kiptui powers to distribute the estate.

"The titles will be held in trust for all beneficiaries under the custody of administrators' lawyer Karanja Mbugua," ruled Mohochi.

In their bid to implement the orders, the four demanded the surrender of all the title deeds held by all beneficiaries.

However, the four, claim they have faced resistance and frustrations from the beneficiaries, in their attempts to manage the estate.

In their documents before the court, they claim that beneficiaries Micah Bowen and Grace Komen have failed to comply with the court orders.

Bowen is Kibowen’s grandson while Grace is the daughter-in-law.

"Grace violently barred us from accessing one of the estate’s lands in Njoro for the purpose of survey and subdivision," they claim through a lawyer.

They accuse Bowen of refusing to surrender a title deed he holds for a 2,619-acre land within Rongai Sub County., despite court orders.

"An order of surrender of title LR 1331/2 is issued to Bowen to release the same to the administrators to be held in trust," ruled Mohochi on March 20.

In her response, Grace claims that she has the right to occupy the land and she did not agree to any subdivision.

She accuses the administrators of planning to sell part of the estate without approval from all beneficiaries.

Bowen says he holds the title deed for the land and does not trust the administrators to manage all the estate in trust of the family.

Mohochi, noting the succession case had been in court for a long time (since 1997), gave the administrators powers to distribute the estate.

He said that the court had to intervene to enable the administrators to conclude the final distribution of the estate to the beneficiaries and settle debts owed to all beneficiaries.

"The succession of Kibowen constitutes a backlog and its conclusion remains a priority," he said.

The judge directed the administrators to meet and deliberate on the distribution process and debt resettlement.

Documents in court show that one of the creditors, Agrisup Limited, proved that it was owed Sh1,295,000 by Kibowen over a sale of land.

The second creditor, Anne Naanyu, claims over Sh23 million, a refund owed by Kibowen over the sale of 185-acre land. Her claim is unproven.

Kibowen died on February 15, 1997 without leaving any will. He was survived by three widows; Rachael Komen, Magdalina Tapsiarkani and Sote Komen. Rachael is the only surviving widow.

His estate comprises land, petrol stations, shares at the East African Breweries, and parcels of land scattered across Nakuru and Baringo counties.