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Family fights over the late Senator Mutula Kilonzo’s multi-billion business empire

The late Senator Mutula Kilonzo

The family of the late Senator Mutula Kilonzo is embroiled in a legal battle over his multi-billion-shilling business empire.

Mutula who died at his Maanzoni farm in Machakos County in April 2013 left a Will that has seen his children from his first marriage raise issues and they have filed an application at the High Court in Nairobi.

In the application, Makueni Senator Mutula Kilonzo Jr, Rose Wanza, Kethi Kilonzo and Michael Musembi are opposed to their step-mother Cyrose Nduku single-handedly dividing the estate according to the Will the late senator drafted in 1987.

They want Mutula Jr to be appointed as a second executor of the Will and properties left out of the inventory attached to Nduku’s application included before the court can issue a confirmation of the document their father signed.

They also want the court to stop her from disposing off, transferring or alienating shares of all private companies in their late father’s estate pending confirmation of grant she had applied for.

Mutula Jr and his siblings say that the inventory touching on land parcels and the substantial stake held by their late father in several companies filed by Nduku is false, since the value of the assets is not shown and that their father owed Kenya Revenue Authority Sh481 million in tax arrears.

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“The tax debt is enforceable and should be paid before any specific or residuary legacy in the Will. The tax law requires that the debt must be met out of the assets of the estate,” Mutula Jr states in his affidavit filed at the High Court.

The matter came before High Court judge Margaret Muigai on March 9, 2016 and is listed for hearing on Tuesday, February 21, 2017.

In her petition filed in the High Court in August 2014, Nduku says she will render a just and true account of the estate and administer it according to the law.

The late senator had named Nduku and his father Mr Kilonzo Musembi who died on May 15, 2000 as executors of the estate.

This left Nduku as the only person to divide the property, a move Kilonzo Jr and his siblings are contesting.

Left in limbo in his Will, Mutula included family members and even some of his workers.

Nduku says in the petition filed in August 2014 that her husband left behind assets such as 30 parcels of land located in Nairobi and Machakos and liabilities worth only Sh40 million.

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The estate includes stocks and shares in more than 30 companies, motor vehicles, gold jewelry and watches, parliamentary dues and liabilities.

However, Kilonzo Jr says that in filing her application and list of assets and liabilities, the step-mother interpreted the Will to the exclusion and prejudice of all the beneficiaries.

“If any assets and liabilities are not listed they will be left in limbo,” he states.

In the counter inventory that reads like a journey to a better life he wanted for his family filed at the court’s registry, Mutula Jr has listed more than 100 land title deed numbers, shares in several companies, money in the two bank accounts and motor vehicles.

His late father had parcels of land in Nairobi, Machakos and Mombasa counties in both his and corporate names. He also had assets in more than 50 companies.

The late senator invested in almost every sector including blue chip companies such as Barclays Bank, Standard Bank, Sameer, Safaricom, Cooperative Bank, National Bank, Kenya Power, Kenya Commercial Bank, East Africa Breweries, Firestone East Africa and Kenya Airways.

On the issue of tax owed to KRA that is the only liability indicated in the inventory, Mutula Jr states that on the face of Nduku’s application, it is not clear whether the debt owed to KRA can be paid and from which assets.

“If the estate is incapable of meeting the tax debt, the petition for grant of probate should be made under bankruptcy,” reads part of the documents.

He states that his father’s Will deals with moveable and immovable properties, adding that it will be in breach of the Companies Act if the Will is granted to one executor.

Nduku, who is opposed to Mutula Jr being appointed as a second executor of his father’s estate says she has no full information of the assets and liabilities of her husband and all his debts have to be paid accordingly.

She says that this is due to the strained relationship between her and Mutula Jr and his siblings.

“There is no deliberate attempt on my part to understate the liabilities and/or assets of the deceased,” she states.

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