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Church not welcome in Koinange estate case

Administrators of the multi-billion-shilling estate of the late politician Mbiyu Koinange are embroiled in a legal battle with a church over the sale of a prime piece of land.

Karura Community Chapel, which bought three acres from the 260-acre Closeburn estate in Kiambu County for Sh7 million, has lodged an application before High Court Judge William Musyoka complaining that the terms of the sale are yet to be executed.

Through senior pastor Ngari Kariithi, the church urged the court to allow its application to join the ongoing inheritance proceedings as an interested party.

Mr Koinange, who died in 1981, was a powerful politician and Cabinet minister in the Jomo Kenyatta government. His family has been involved in a long-running legal battle over his estate.  

Pastor Kariithi said the estate administrators had failed to fulfill the terms of the sale agreement despite the church’s having paid for the land more than 10 years ago.

Although the administrators, through their lawyers, were unanimous that Karura Community Chapel was entitled to the land, they told Justice Musyoka that the church was not a beneficiary of the estate and allowing it to participate in the inheritance proceedings would not be prudent.

They argued that if the church was certain that there was a breach of the sale agreement, it ought to buttress its case at the Environmental and Land Division Court where it has lodged a separate civil suit.

Justice Musyoka concurred with the administrators and ruled that the church would be a “stranger” in the inheritance case.

He said since the administrators were not opposed to the three acres being excised in favour of the church, “enjoining it to the proceedings will not serve any purpose”.

Furthermore, the judge observed that the court was about to rule on the distribution of the estate to the beneficiaries after having heard the last witness.

He said the church plot saga was also placed before him by various witnesses who testified in court.

The family battle to control an estimated Sh10 billion estate left by the former Cabinet minister has seen the inheritance case in litigation for more than three decades.

The widows and 18 children are fighting for a stake in some of the country’s most prime land holdings – including 291 acres at the city’s Runda estate and thousands more in the Rift Valley – and shares in top companies.

Also to be determined by the court is the purported sale of Muthera farm to Kiambu Governor William Kabogo for Sh214.8 million. The administrators want the court to annul the alleged sale.

Mr Kabogo had made an undertaking from Charterhouse Bank to secure the sale proceeds, but the transaction hit a brick wall after the institution was put under statutory management by the Central Bank of Kenya.

Mr Kabogo is entangled in yet another legal tussle over the alleged purchase of a Sh2 billion plot belonging to the estate located next to the Reinsurance Plaza building in Nairobi.