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Questions after body vanishes from mortuary

Police are investigating claims that the body of the wife of a city billionaire was taken from a mortuary without consent of family.

The body of Gladys Rahunga Ritho, wife of top city lawyer, Samuel Kanongo Ritho, was collected from the Mater Hospital Mortuary on Saturday by a man only identified as Geoffrey.

The body had been at the mortuary for five months following a feud over control of the family’s multi-billion shilling property. 

Early May last year, Mrs Ritho moved to court seeking to stop her children from controlling the Sh3 billion property. 

She told the court that her two sons and two daughters had been scalding their father with hot water to force him sign the fortune in their name. 

Mr Ritho who was the Chief Adjudication Officer at the then Ministry of Lands and Settlement in the 1990s is in London receiving treatment for stroke, brain complications and blood pressure. 

The properties under tussle are estimated to generate Sh5 million every month and they include 40 prime real estate properties in London, Nairobi, Malindi, Lamu, Murang’a and Mombasa.

In Nairobi, the Ritho family has 10 rental flats in Eastleigh and four five-bedroomed bungalows in Kileleshwa and Loresho.

The family also has prime beach plots in Kilifi and Malindi. In London the family is said to own a flat and a building housing a dental clinic.

Denied upkeep money

During the tussle, Mrs Ritho told the court that her children had taken advantage of their father’s ill health and misappropriated at least Sh200 million. She wanted to be the sole beneficiary of his property.

She alleged that her children had assaulted her and denied her upkeep money when she tried to protest the fact that they were forcing their father to sign blank bank transfer documents. 

Mrs Ritho obtained an order stopping her children; Geoffrey Avugwi, James John Kanogo, Margaret Mung’asia and Jane Nyambura from dealing with the properties. She died on October 14, 2013 at Mater Hospital. 

“The deceased, who is aged 70 years, complained of stomachache. She started vomiting and was rushed to Mater Hospital where she died,” read part of a police report.

The Government pathologist, Oduor Johansen Oduor said autopsy indicated Mrs Ritho died of intravascular coagulation.