Lawyers distance themselves from missing Sh284m in Koinange estate

Koinange son David Njuno in Nakuru court yesterday for the hearing of human rights activist Ole Mpoe murder.Photo Ben Ndonga
Koinange son David Njuno in Nakuru court yesterday for the hearing of human rights activist Ole Mpoe murder.Photo Ben Ndonga

FOUR top lawyers, among them Kandara MP Alice Wahome and ICC lawyer Evans Monari, have distanced themselves over Sh284 million allegedly missing from an account of the estate of the late Mbiyu Koinange.

The money was a residual amount after 100 acres of Closeburn estate in Runda were sold for Sh1.1 billion to settle debts accumulated by the estate.

Eddah Mbiyu Koinange, the fourth wife of the powerful post-independence politician, recorded a statement with the CID Economic Crimes Unit on

September 9 last year claiming that lawyers in the succession case withdrew the money without informing the family and without a court order.

She has asked the CID to investigate lawyers Beatrice Kariuki, Maina Nyagene, Wahome and Monari.

Eddah insisted that the four advocates, who represented the four branches of the estate, should be held responsible for any withdrawals without a court order.

On

July 26, 2011, the High Court directed that the money held on behalf of the four widows and their children should not be disbursed without authority of the court.

However Wahome told the Star, "We have rendered a full account of funds received by the estate. No fraud has been committed and all payments made have been shown to whom they have been paid and the judge hearing this matter has both civil and criminal jurisdiction if anybody can prove there is fraud.”

Wahome represented Eddah in the succession case that is still before the High Court.

The CID have recorded statements from all the parties but the matter has not been sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions.

The four family branches in court are those of Eddah; third wife Margaret Njeri Mbiyu; David Waiganjo Koinange, son of the late second wife Ruth Damaris Wambui Mbiyu; and David and George Njuno, sons of the late first wife Loise Njeri Mbiyu.

They are in the Family Division of the High Court fighting over how to sub-divide the vast Koinange estate that includes land in Rift Valley and prime properties in the Nairobi Central Business District. The dispute is over whether the estate should be shared among the four family branches, or divided equally among all the descendants.

Koinange, who died in 1981, was a powerful minister in the Jomo Kenyatta government and MP for Kiambaa from 1963 to 1979.

George Koinange, a son of the first wife,

said, " We reported the matter to the CID. Most family members have been notified of the issue."

Njeri, the third wife, complained, "Some lawyers don’t even want us to have a face-to –face meeting.”

Kariuki, who represents Njeri, denied that any money had been disbursed improperly.

In a two-page document, she accused the Star of "not being independent and having fallen captive to the private agenda of none other than the complainant Wanjiru Mbiyu”.

Monari, representing David Koinange, denied the allegations and termed them false.

Wanjiru

yesterday said she had filed a complaint with the CID about the slow pace of investigations and claimed that "powerful people " were trying to derail the probe.

Neither CID chief Ndegwa Muhoro nor ECU head Chief Inspector Mohammed Aden were available for comment.