The High Court has cleared an obstacle to the distribution of former President Daniel Moi’s estate even as it emerged he gave Sh100 million to each of his three daughters.
A US-based Kenyan doctor and the family of a former Eldoret chief have failed to halt distribution of properties owned by Moi who died in February 2020.
Dr George Kiongera, together with Mr David Chelugui (son of ex-chief Noah Chelugui), wanted lawyer Zehrabanu Janmohamed, who is managing the late Moi’s vast estate, stopped from distributing the properties.
For his part, Mr Chelugui lodged an application seeking to block the lawyer from receiving the confirmation of grant to enable her distribute the properties unless one billion shillings his family won in a 2019 land battle with the former Head of State is factored in.
Dr Kiongera, on the other hand, was opposed to implementation of Moi’s Will in relation to a Sh2.5 billion parcel in Muthaiga, Nairobi. But it emerged in the court proceedings that Moi had actually excluded the 19.7-acre Muthaiga land, registered as LR No. 12422/19, from his Will dated November 15, 2005.
“As far as this petition stands, LR No. 12422/19 is not one of the properties subject of the estate of Moi. This is because it was not mentioned in the Will or codicil (the rewritten Will), and it was not mentioned in the petition,” said Justice Aggrey Muchelule. The Codicil is dated March 30, 2010.
Sh100 million inheritance
According to the Will, Moi left a 931-hectare parcel to be held by the Trustees of Kabarak University for the benefit of his five sons. The sons are listed as Jonathan Kipkemboi Moi, Raymond Moi, John Mark Moi, Philip Moi and Gideon Moi equally during their lifetime and upon their death for the benefit of their children.
According to the codicil, Moi gave Sh100 million to each of his daughters – Jenifer Chemutai Moi, Doris Chekorir Moi and June Chebet Moi.Moi appointed lawyer Janmohamed as the executor and trustee of the Will.
On October 9, 2020, the High Court gave the lawyer authority to manage and distribute the properties, having obtained the grant of probate of written Will.
However, on April 23, 2021, Dr Kiongera, through his company, Maestro Connections Health Systems Ltd, asked the court to halt the distribution and restrain the lawyer implementing the contents of the Will in relation to the Muthaiga property.
He argued in court that the ownership of the land was subject to a pending case at the Environment and Lands Court in Nairobi.
The court consolidated three matters involving ownership of the prime land that the former President reportedly sold to three different entities between 1988 and 2016.Moi, who died in February last year, is alleged to have sold the land to DPS International Limited in 1988 and thereafter to Muthaiga Luxury Homes Ltd in 2012.
The former President is said to have sold the same property again in 2016 to Maestro Connections Health Systems Ltd.The court battle started in 2016, with all the purchasers claiming to be the legitimate owners of the property.
But Moi, who was President from 1978 to 2002, had filed a counterclaim denying ever selling the disputed property. He argued that he was still the owner of the land that he had acquired in 1982.
Dr Kiongera had asked Justice Muchelule to suspend distribution of the estate until the dispute on the Muthaiga land was determined.He also sought an order compelling the lawyer to set aside from the estate and deposit Sh2.5 billion in court or an interest-earning account of the advocates, being the amount he is claiming in the land’s case.
But the judge said the question of whether the parcel belonged to Moi or not was the jurisdiction of the Environment and Lands court.He ruled that the court could not be asked to halt distribution of the properties provided for in the Will and codicil.
The judge said Dr Kiongera’s firm could not participate in the distribution process as it had not been shown to be a creditor to Moi’s estate.
Concerning the chief’s family protest dated April 26, 2021, the judge found that President Moi had filed an appeal against the Sh1 billion awarded by the Court of Appeal in Kisumu and that the matter was yet to be determined.
The former chief’s family had urged the court to hold that the grant issued to Moi’s lawyer should not be confirmed until the appeal was heard and determined.
But the lawyer argued that she had not sought confirmation of the grant of probate and that, in any case, the issue of whether or not the protester was a creditor to Moi’s estate would eventually be settled by the Court of Appeal.
“All that I would like to say at this stage is that, when the lawyer will seek the confirmation of that grant of probate she will serve the protester who will formally file his protest to the application. At that stage the court will deal with the protest,” said Justice