High Court recalls grant in Sh1b succession case

 Justice Samwel Mohochi set aside the grant after noticing it was issued despite a 45-day suspension order. [iStockphoto]

The High Court has recalled a letter of administration erroneously issued to three widows of former Nominated MP Philip Kamau and his son on October 2, this year.

The court had declared Teresia Njeri, Margaret Damat, Lucy Wanjiru and Joseph Njuguna as joint administrators of the estate estimated to be worth Sh1 billion.

The estate is comprised of the famous Pinkam House and Molo House in Nakuru, a slaughterhouse, a funeral home, prime plots, residential homes, shops, land, enterprises, motor vehicles and savings in banks.

Other assets are shares in Mwariki Farm Limited, Kiamunyi Farm Limited, Embakasi Ranching Limited and Mangu Enterprise Limited.

However, Justice Samwel Mohochi set aside the grant after noticing it was issued despite a 45-day suspension order on Wednesday.

The judge also realized that the grant was issued as intestate (without a will), despite Kamau having left a will for the distribution of his estate.

In his orders, Mohochi said the grant issuance was an error.

“The grant intestate, erroneously issued by the court on October 2, 2023, is recalled and set aside,” he ordered.

The judge issued another grant with a will annexed but ruled that the 45-day stay order would apply.

On September 29, 2023, Mohochi appointed Wanjiku’s brother and her stepmothers as administrators of Kamau’s estate.

He ruled that the three women were Kamau’s widows, and there was no evidence that they had intermeddled with part of the estate they had possessed since he died on May 1, 2012.

However, Kamau’s daughter Elizabeth Wanjiku, challenged the grant, filed a notice of appeal before the court and sought stay orders pending her intended appeal.

Wanjiku also applied for Mohochi to recuse himself from the succession case, claiming he acted more than the High Court’s jurisdiction.

She accused him of bias, “The judge erroneously set aside a January 17, 2021 ruling of Justice Teresia Matheka, a judge of similar jurisdiction.”

Wanjiku said the court's verdict that the three women were her stepmothers was premature because there is a pending case where she challenges the women’s claim.

Following her application, on October 2, the court granted a 45-day stay of issuance and execution of the grant by the four, until Wanjiku appeals.

However, on the same day, despite the orders, the court issued a signed intestate grant dated September 29, 2023, appointing the four as administrators.

Wanjiku had applied for the court to appoint the Public Trustee or one of her cousins, Elizabeth Waithaka, as an administrator, saying there would be no conflict of interest.

She said her father only had one wife- her mother, Alice Kahaki, who died on August 25, 1983.

Wanjiku alleged that Njuguna had colluded with the three to disinherit her mother, who owned 95 per cent of the estate. She insisted that her father owned only 5 per cent.

In response, Njeri, acting on behalf of the four, said they were competent enough to manage the estate faithfully and in fairness.

The case shall be mentioned on December 8.

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