TYCOON DIED IN SWIMMING POOL

Baburam estate row continues to play out in court

Funds transferred from account and log book details changed

In Summary

• Tycoon's father wants widow dropped as administrator until her murder trial is completed

• Online petition seeking to collect at least 2,500 signatures to have father investigated has been launched and at least 1,600 collected

Yodit Tesfye and David Baburam in a Mombasa court
THE PARENTS: Yodit Tesfye and David Baburam in a Mombasa court
Image: Maureen Mudi

The father of Jimmy Baburam, who died under mysterious circumstances in 2015, wants the tycoon's widow dropped as an estate administrator. 

Jimmy died on July 26, 2015, in a swimming pool at Medina Palms Resort, Malindi. His widow Amina Shiraz and two other suspects are facing murder charges amidst claims of witness tampering and lying on oath. 

It has emerged that some of Jimmy's assets have been transferred to other entities. The deceased was a Kenya Defence Forces weapons supplier. 

David Baburam and Shiraz have been entangled in a property dispute since 2016. Both were listed as estate administrators, but David wants Shiraz dropped until her trial ends.

A court last month ordered a stay on any subdivision of the deceased’s property.

But bank documents from between July 2015 and May 24 last year show massive cash transfers and withdrawals from the deceased’s account.

The account at Middle East Bank had around Sh120 million but by last year, the balance stood at first Sh76 million, and later reduced to Sh61 million.

Logbooks of a Mercedes Benz, BMW, Land Rover and Range Rover, now either bear David’s name or those of his sons and companies.

An online petition seeking to collect at least 2,500 signatures to have David investigated has been launched and at least 1,600 collected. The Star could not, however, not independently verify the claims on the site.

A number of cases have been filed in Mombasa and Malindi law courts as the rivalry between father and daughter-in-law plays out.

David filed the petition to block Shiraz at the High Court in Nairobi.  He also wants the court to list Jimmy's two children as co-administrators and to remove a stepchild as a beneficiary.

David said most of the estate's assets are in cash and if the money is distributed before determination of the criminal case, and in the event Amina is found culpable, the estate may not be able to recover funds expended by her. The estate will suffered irrecoverable loss, he said. 

“The estate stands to benefit if the funds are consolidated and invested with a reputable management company,” David added.

His application was opposed by Shiraz in her affidavit dated June 22, 2018, for "being absurd and lacking merit as it seeks to violate the law".

“I am innocent until proven guilty, and entitled to the personal effects and household goods of my late husband, and a life interest in the residue of the net estate,” she indicated.

Shiraz said Jimmy treated his stepchild as his own daughter and had listed himself as her father in school, paid her school fees and other expenses. She said he had also listed her as one of his beneficiaries in his life insurance policy and therefore the child has an equal interest in the estate as her siblings.

Shiraz further proposed that the money be collected and placed in a fixed deposit account to be operated by the two administrators. 

The court had allowed a third party to manage the estate, citing the bad blood between the two administrators.

Court of Appeal judges Erastus Githinji, Fatuma Sichale and James Otieno-Odek had earlier refused to suspend a High Court ruling that stopped the distribution of Baburam’s assets.

Shiraz, who is out on Sh10 million bond, had asked the court to suspend a ruling that delayed the distribution of the deceased's property.