The deaths of former President Daniel Arap Moi and his son Jonathan have fueled tensions in the family, as Moi’s eldest grandson, Collins Kibet Toroitich, seeks a portion of the wealth left behind by both family members.
Last Friday, High Court judge Aggrey Muchelule allowed Collins Magalasi to join the succession case of his grandfather, former President Daniel arap Moi , in order to claim damages caused by his alleged exclusion from Moi’s estate.
Collins, who is separately fighting for his father’s inheritance, has become involved in a bitter succession dispute within the Moi family.
Collins claims that assets have been irregularly transferred in plans to disinherit him and that the estate administrator, Zehrabanu Janmohammed, is attempting to conceal several assets spanning at least three countries.
Collins alleges that Moi has assets in Kenya, the United Kingdom, Malawi, and Australia that are not recorded in court. In court proceedings, Janmohammed has failed to provide information about the disposal of 1,000 acres of land near the Maasai Mara Game Reserve and shares in Siginon Aviation worth Sh1.7 billion.
Former President Moi’s will states that the assets, moveable and immoveable, of his estate will be held in trust by Ms Janmohammed for his children, with the exception of Kabarak University, which will be held for the benefit of his grandchildren in the event of the death of Moi’s children.
Collins claims his father was worth over Sh70 billion, further arguing that assets were concealed from the court and that the estate is a beneficiary of the Moi business empire.
The documents filed in court by Jonathan’s lawyers state that some of the properties he claims were not included on his son’s inventory of assets include land in Karen worth Sh456 million and shares in two companies — Raymark Holdings and a dairy farm.
Collins is Jonathan’s eldest son, whom the former politician and rally driver bore with Linah Cherogoi.
Linah died when Collins was four years old, and Jonathan took him in at that point.
While fights for wealth were largely expected when the former President died owing to the tense relationship among his children, not many would have expected the fire to be lit by Moi’s second generation scions.
before the court process started, that the former President’s sons were in disagreement over distribution of the wealth.
But in court, none of Mr Moi’s children has raised an issue with Ms Janmohammed’s administration or management of the vast business empire.
Collins’ push for the former President’s wealth presents a sense of irony in the family’s affairs, as his father opted to stay away from the Moi business empire. After Moi divorced his wife Lenah in 1974, Jonathan opted to remain with his mother.
The move did not sit well with Moi and became a source of conflict. Jonathan then decided to walk his own path and even lived an ordinary life for someone who came from the family of one of the continent’s wealthiest individuals.
Moi had a troubled relationship with most of his children, but it was coldest with Jonathan, who consistently went against his father’s wishes.
From maintaining a close relationship with Lenah to pursuing a rally driving career, Jonathan seemed to always press his father’s buttons.
And when Jonathan died in 2019, his wealth was revealed in his will. The will listed assets worth Sh30 million, none of which had been acquired with the input or influence of his father.
But his eldest son has opened the door for Jonathan’s family to, for the first time, directly benefit from former President Moi’s business empire.
Collins is pursuing a slice of the former President’s wealth on behalf of Jonathan’s family.
As Collins had not been named an administrator in Jonathan’s estate, he had to seek permission from the courts to join former President Moi’s succession battle on behalf of his father’s family.
Justice Muchelule last Friday agreed to let Collins battle it out with Ms Janmohammed and family members who are in agreement with the former President’s will.
“Application allowed. Applicant (Collins) letters of administration limited to suing for damages on behalf of the estate of the deceased (Jonathan),” read the court ruling in part.
In his application, Collins claims that he has been left out of former President Moi’s estate despite being a beneficiary.
He also claims that Ms Janmohammed has ignored requests for financial assistance, information on the administrator’s appointment and her dealings with the estate since October 10, 2020 when the High Court granted her management authority.
“Although [Moi’s] estate generates substantial monthly income, I have never benefited from the same despite my several requests for financial assistance, noting that I have presently been issued with an eviction notice dated September 2, 2021.”
“I now live under constant and imminent fear of being rendered homeless,” Collins says in court papers.
“I have been unlawfully and maliciously sidelined by [Ms Janmohammed] from all aspects of the… estate despite having a bona fide and crystallised interest thereto,” he adds.
Collins has also filed an application seeking to be made an administrator of Jonathan’s estate.
Jonathan’s death seemed to offer some unity in the Moi family, which met to discuss his succession. The larger family agreed that his widow Sylvia and son Clint would be made administrators of the estate.
On October 15, 2019 the High Court granted Sylvia and Clint permission to handle the estate’s affairs as the succession process was finalised.
But two women — Ms Beatrice Muli and Ms Faith Nyambura — challenged the move, arguing that they were also married to Jonathan and had children. The three women, however, agreed to enter out-of-court talks.
They also agreed that, while the talks proceeded, all 12 of Jonathan’s children would be factored into the estate.
Jonathan’s estate comprises a piece of land in Nairobi’s Industrial Area valued at Sh15 million and shares in Tiro Holdings Ltd (Sh10 million), and Nakuru Oil Mills (Sh5 million).
On January 7 this year, Collins filed a fresh application seeking to be named an administrator in Jonathan’s estate. He says that, if Sylvia and Clint’s authority cannot be revoked, he should be named as a co-administrator alongside the two.
Collins claims in the application that some of his father’s assets have been left out of the succession proceedings.
He adds that his stepmother Sylvia and stepbrother Clint have transferred some of the assets not listed in court to themselves.
“I was born well before my stepmother Sylvia Jonathan Moi entered any union with my late father and this fact has at all material times been well known by the respondents/co-administrators.”
“Despite the highlighted facts, the respondents/co-administrators maliciously and unlawfully attempted to disinherit and defraud me out of my beneficial share in the deceased’s estate by intentionally excluding me as a beneficiary in their impugned petition filed on July 8, 2019,” Collins says.
He adds that he has not been consulted on any issue regarding Jonathan’s estate, yet beneficiaries should be involved in decisions around the succession process.