Nginyo Kariuki accounts frozen over family fights


Nginyo Kariuki accounts frozen over family fights

the late politician and businessman Lawrence Nginyo Kariuki
The late politician and businessman Lawrence Nginyo Kariuki. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Bank accounts belonging to the late politician and businessman Lawrence Nginyo Kariuki have been frozen as the deceased’s heirs fight over his Sh4 billion estate.

The Family Division of Nairobi’s Milimani High Court issued the orders on August 25, 2020, stopping any of Mr Kariuki’s family members from accessing the cash including short-term fixed deposit accounts.

More than Sh300 million was in Mr Kariuki’s personal accounts and other undisclosed hundreds of millions of shillings in firms’ associated with the tycoon.

The order will be in place until the court gives new directions on October 5, 2020 when the case will be heard.

Brenda Nyambura Kiragu, one of the deceased’s three children born out of wedlock, went to court seeking to block her stepmother Margaret Wangari Nginyo and her six children from managing and distributing his estate.


“That pending hearing of the application restraining orders are hereby issued against the respondents, their agents, servants or employees against inter-meddling and/or interfering with the deceased’s estate including bank accounts domiciled at Consolidated Bank of Kenya and I&M Bank Limited,” reads the order by Justice George Dulu.

Mr Kariuki died on February 24, 2020, leaving a vast estate, including real estate, farming, bank deposits and government bonds worth more than Sh4 billion and a will that is being contested in court by one of his children.

He left Sh310.7 million in fixed deposit accounts at Consolidated Bank earning interest at a rate of between eight and 9.5 percent.

The tycoon had Sh26.4 million in fixed deposit accounts at I&M Bank earning interest at a rate of between 6.25 and 7.75 percent.

The short-term investments were to mature from January to September this year, according to documents filed in the court case.

Ms Brenda says in a supporting affidavit that since the death of Mr Kariuki, her stepmother and her children have been withdrawing money from the deceased’s bank accounts illegally.

She says that Mr Kariuki was the majority shareholder in six companies that have accounts at I&M, Co-operative Bank of Kenya and Consolidated Bank, adding that access to the cash can only be done through the businessman’s estate.

The companies include Pema Holdings, Nginyo Investments and Mtwapa Holdings. She accused the banks of allowing Margaret and some of her children, who are minority shareholders in the firms, to withdraw money from corporate accounts without board approval including the vote by the deceased’s estate which automatically inherits his shares.

“Documents filed by the defendants in Succession Cause Number 336 of 2020 clearly show that they have withdrawn more than Sh30 million from various accounts belonging to the companies since the demise of Lawrence Nginyo Kariuki (LNK), the majority shareholder to said accounts,” reads part of the affidavit.

The court was told that on March 10, 2020, for instance, the respondents applied for and transferred Sh1.1 million from the deceased’s account number 10011200000914 domiciled at Consolidated Bank of Kenya.

The instructions to the bank were made to appear as if it was the deceased who initiated the transactions.

“That the first to third defendants failed, refused and or neglected to demand valid board resolutions in line with the Articles of Association of the companies (confirming a majority in sitting) which would have included a court appointed representative of LNK’s estate.”

Brenda alleged that the money was withdrawn “purportedly for company operations which funds have instead, in some cases, been redirected and even paid to the shareholders themselves.”

The deceased’s eldest child, Jane Wambui Kiragu, has defended the cash withdrawals in a replying affidavit.

Jane says she was authorised by her father to take out cash, adding that the money was used for legitimate purposes including meeting the deceased’s funeral expenses.

She added that the family will account for all the money as and when required by law.

“I further wish to state that I signed for the transfer of the said funds after being advised by the relationship manager of the Consolidated Bank, Mr Erastus Gachoya, that I had the mandate to sign for the said transfer which mandate had been given to me by the deceased before his demise,” she said in the affidavit.

She added that the law allows executors to pay out of the estate of the deceased any outstanding debt. Her role as executor of the estate has also been challenged in court.

Mr Kariuki is survived by his widow Margaret and her six children – Jane, James Anthony Kariuki, Rose Wanjiru Kariuki, Sarah Mukuhi Kariuki, Scholastica Njeri Kariuki and Silas Macharia Kariuki.

Mr Kariuki also had three other children out of wedlock –Brenda, Alex Ndoria Karuri and Austin Wachira Karungo.

Brenda wants the court to nullify her father’s will of June 13, 2014 which excluded her, Alex and Austin, saying the document is either a forgery or the author did not have free will at the time of its creation.

Mr Kariuki was a successful businessman with a fortune that places his heirs among the richest families in the country.

Court documents shows Mr Kariuki owned land and buildings in Nairobi, Kiambu and Ngong valued at Sh3.2 billion. His well-known property is Nginyo Towers in Nairobi’s central business district.

He owned a 120-acre farmland in Tigoni, Kiambu County, producing coffee, tea and livestock.

Mr Kariuki had a long history in politics but his most recent prominent role came in the year 2000 when he founded and became chairman of The National Alliance (TNA) party.

The party was President Uhuru Kenyatta’s ticket to power in 2013. It was later dissolved in 2016 when it merged with others, including the United Republican Party (URP) to form the ruling Jubilee Party.

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