SUCCESSION CASE

Koinange widow wants Closeburn Estate distributed equally

Each house to receive an equal 25 per cent share as provided in the Constitution and Kikuyu customary Law.

In Summary

• The assets (31 in total) form part of the estate of Koinange that are available for distribution.

• Through Senior Counsel Paul Muite, Eddah told Justice Aggrey Muchelule that currently, an acre at Closeburn goes for close to Sh200 million.  

Former Cabinet Minister Mbiyu Koinange’s son David Njuno and widow Eddah Wanjiru at the High Court in Nakuru on February 25.
Former Cabinet Minister Mbiyu Koinange’s son David Njuno and widow Eddah Wanjiru at the High Court in Nakuru on February 25.
Image: FILE

One of the four Mbiyu Koinange's widows has proposed that the 240-acre Closeburn estate valued at Sh4.8 billion be equally divided among them.  

Eddah Wanjiru, the fourth wife of the late cabinet minister, wants each house to receive an equal 25 per cent share as provided in the Constitution and Kikuyu customary Law.

The assets (31 in total) form part of the estate of Koinange that are available for distribution.

Through Senior Counsel Paul Muite, Eddah told Justice Aggrey Muchelule that currently, an acre at Closeburn goes for close to Sh200 million.  

Closeburn, Muite said, used to be a coffee farm and measured 640 acres. It is located in Roselyn Estate, next to Runda Estate in Nairobi. 

“Some acres have already been sold to meet the estate's debts. Of these, 250 acres was sold to the Aga Khan Group, 100 acres to Centum and 50 acres sold to Karura community chapel leaving approximately 240 acres for distribution,” Muite said.

Muite urged the court to have the remaining 240 acres subdivided equally between the four houses so that each gets at least 60 acres.

At the time Eddah swore her affidavit in March 2018, it was indicated that the estate was valued at Sh2.8 billion.

Koinange died on September 3, 1981, without a will. 

His four wives were Loise Njeri, Ruth Damaris, Margaret Njeri and Edda Wanjiru.

Koinange’s first wife passed on before him while the second followed him.

He had 12 children (six each) from his first two wives Loise Njeri and Ruth Damaris. The children are all adults aged between 74 and 51 years.

The case has been pending in court for over 30 years due to disagreements by heirs of the estate, but parties have since tabled their proposals in court on how they want the wealth distributed.

Eddah yesterday proposed that the 640-acre Ehothia farm located between old Banana-Limuru road and Nazareth Hospital road and valued at Sh5.1 billion be subdivided into portions and distributed to Loise, Ruth and Margaret’s houses equally.

Each house should get 213.3 acres.

The Ehothia farm is where the third (Margaret's) matrimonial home is located. It is occupied and cultivated by the three widows.

Regarding the Waihothia farm which is valued at Sh1.5 billion, Eddah proposes that it be given to her as it’s her matrimonial home.

She says she has been in possession of the parcel since it was purchased for her as a bride.

The farm is situated between the old Limuru road and Nairobi-Nazareth Hospital Road. It is joined to Ehothia farm.

There are a permanent house and a guest house which operates a restaurant with the name Sycamore Inn.

Eddah lists other assets in Nairobi among them Lunga Lunga plot valued at Sh50 million, and two others valued at Sh1.5 billion and Sh50 million respectively.

The value of all the assets amounts to Sh13.6 billion.

David Waiganjo, an administrator and son to Ruth Damaris says the distribution should be done equitably because the circumstances with each individual are different.

For instance, he says, a grandchild should not inherit the same portion as a child of the deceased due to the proximity of the relationship.

Moreover, he says, some grandchildren have no dependents so to give them an equal share to a child of the deceased who has several would be unreasonable.

Waiganjo says in distributing Closeburn estate, priority should be given to the beneficiaries who reside there. They should get the parts of the estate they currently dwell in.

These include the estates of Isaac Njunu which has two acres with a residential house, estate of Solomon Kihara which has three acres with a residential house and himself five acres with a residential house, an office and a farm garage.

All being the children of Ruth Damaris, Koinange’s second wife.