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Woman, son emerge to demand share of billions of former Equity bank boss

A second woman now wants to be included in a succession case relating to John Kagema Mwangi, complicating the process of placing the tycoon’s assets in the hands of a legally recognised administrator.

Ms Esther Njeri and her 29-year-old son Abraham James Gitangu Mwangi want the Family division of the High Court to include them in the case seeking the transfer of the administrative rights of the Kagema estate.

The reclusive billionaire who died in December was the first chief executive of Equity Bank and owned properties across the country, including Enashipai Resort and Spa in Naivasha.

LEFT OUT

Just weeks ago, Ms Serah Wanjiru filed an application at the same court, claiming to have been left out of the proceedings yet she and Mr Kagema married under Kikuyu customary laws and even had twins.

At stake is the ownership or shareholding in more than 22 companies, hundreds of acres of land, vehicles and other possessions.

Ms Njeri swore an affidavit on April 17, saying she cohabited with the tycoon for a long time and deserves the privileges of a wife.

“I am the wife of Kagema on account of marriage presumed from long cohabitation.

“We met around 1982 and started living as man and wife. I lived with Kagema… in South B estate from 1987 to 1989, Buru Buru from November 1989 to 2005 and Upper Hill from 2005 until his admission to hospital in 2018,” she swears in the affidavit made through Agimba and Associates Advocates.

“Out of the marriage, Kagema and I were blessed with a son, Abraham James Gitangu Mwangi, who was born on January 25, 1990. Kagema always took care of his son,” Ms Njeri says in her affidavit and documents that include pictures.

The affidavit is in opposition to a case filed in February by Mr Kagema’s widow Beatrice Wanjiku Mwangi, alongside two of her four children — James Kagema and Daniel Wamahihu — seeking rights to administer the estate.

‘I’M THE WIFE’

“I am the wife and dependant of Kagema, pleading with this honourable court to object to the making of a grant of representation to the estate of Kagema, who died on December 26, 2018, as sought in the petition of Beatrice Wanjiku Mwangi, James Kagema Mwangi and Daniel Wamahiu Mwangi,” Ms Njeri says in her affidavit.

She argues that the widow and her sons intentionally excluded her as a beneficiary of the Kagema estate.
“My interests will not be properly catered for if I am not involved in the administration of the properties,” she says.

Ms Njeri adds that when the billionaire was buried in January, she made several attempts to approach the widow with a view to agreeing on filing a petition for letters of administration but her efforts were not fruitful.

She says she is aware “the widow is the one in control of a majority of the properties and businesses and is benefiting from them with her children”.

To back up her claims, Ms Njeri provides the documents of a car the tycoon imported in his name and later transferred to her.

PHOTOS WITH SON

She also provides photos of the businessman with her and her son in several places — including her parents’ home.

In an affidavit, Abraham also wants to be included in the administration of the estate.

He provides pictures of him and Kagema during his birthday and on a holiday trip to Mombasa with his mother.

Mrs Mwangi lists herself and children as the only beneficiaries of the estate.

The widow filed her application a month after the burial of Mr Kagema.

Ms Wanjiru’s objection, reported in the Sunday Nation last week, came in March while Ms Njeri’s was filed a month later.

Ms Wanjiru applied for an order to land registrars in Lamu, Naivasha, Nakuru, Machakos, Nairobi, Nyahururu, Kajiado and Nyeri to furnish her and the court with land searches to ascertain the number of plots Mr Kagema owned and their value.

FINANCIAL SUPPORT

She also wants the court to order financial support to her and her children. Ms Wanjiru says the first wife and her sons only declared 10 assets and concealed substantial portions of Mr Kagema’s assets, “which include 163 other properties he owned or had interest in”.

She wants the court to stop Mrs Mwangi and her sons from pursuing “their fraudulent scheme which they intend to perfect by virtue of the position they hold in the management of the estate”.

According to court documents, Ms Wanjiru lived with Mr Kagema and their children in Westlands, Nairobi, for 12 years until November 30, 2018.

Kagema had shares in more than 21 top companies.

From Ms Wanjiru’s submission, the assets the widow did not disclose include shareholding in Johenson Kenya, Fone Solutions, Strategic Mobile Ltd, Lake Naivasha Holiday Inn, Enashipai Holiday Homes, Happy Den Motel, Enashipai Resort and Spa, Mwakawa Investments, Sundowner Park, Manyatta Ltd, Naivasha Coffee House, Mt Kenya Golf Resort, Mantex, Mines Mining, Dektah Holdings, Resolution Health, Safaricom, Equity Bank, Kenya Breweries, Kengen and Unaitas.