What you need to know:
- Mathenge was a rich man, his pension was close to Sh10 million at the Kenya Medical Research Institute, a posh house and prime land in Kahawa Sukari worth Sh45 million, prime land in Ruiru and Nanyuki, with his assets said to be worth Sh419 million.
- The battle for Mathenge's wealth has been both civil and criminal, and controversial.
In December 2014, Faith Njeri, now 51, went against the grain and broke the tradition of her community when she married the husband of her late sister who died in a road crash in Machakos.
It was a love brewed in hushed tones that shocked her friends and family, especially in Kahawa Sukari, Kiambu County, where the now deceased Mercy Wanjiku and her husband Evan Murimi Mathenge were well known.
Wanjiku was a lecturer at the Kenyatta University Kitui campus when she met her death.
''I noticed that when my sister died on June 27, 2012, the two boys she left behind were suffering as her husband travelled a lot for work and when he (Dr Mathenge) asked me if I could agree to marry him and continue taking care of my sister's children and now live together as husband and wife, I readily agreed and he paid my dowry after settling that of my late sister. My parents had no objection to our union,'' Njeri told the Nation at her palatial home in Kahawa Sukari.
''We finally moved in as a couple on December 23, 2014 and settled, and lived happily in the same house that my sister shared with her husband in Kahawa Sukari before she died”.
Before that, Njeri told the Nation, she lived in a rental flat in Kasarani, Nairobi.
Mathenge was a rich man, a businessman, a researcher for Centre for Disease Control at the Kenya Medical Research Institute, a part-time lecturer at three local universities and a consultant to the World Health Organisation (WHO), with vast wealth ranging from motor vehicles, land, property, shares in listed companies and a fat pension.
On September 12, 2019, at the age of 50, Mathenge was taken ill and later on died in what has now turned into a protracted legal battle between Njeri's in-laws in a case that has the hallmarks of fraud, forgery and contested love in two cases filed separately at Ruiru Law Courts in Kiambu and Nyeri Law Courts.
In February 2022, Joyce Muthoni, Mathenge’s sister, was arrested along with Tabitha Muthoni, an employee of the Kenya Medical Research Institute, for conspiracy to commit an offence and giving false information to obtain Mathenge's death certificate so that they could start the succession process, and inherit his pension and huge investments.
''Joyce Muthoni Mathenge and Tabitha Muthoni Kimani on various dates between 4 October 2019 and 27 May 2020 at an unknown place in the Republic of Kenya, informed Anselm Kamuti, a person employed in the public service, that you were lawfully entitled to acquire the death certificate of the late Murimi Mathenge, the information of which you knew or believed to be false, with intent to mislead the said registrar to process the said document contrary to his powers to the annoyance of Faith Njeri Mwangi who was lawfully entitled to acquire the said death certificate,'' reads a charge sheet dated February 23, 2022, when the two appeared before the Ruiru magistrate's court.
Njeri now claims that the forgery case has been quietly withdrawn and numerous visits to Ruiru Law Courts have failed to get the case listed for hearing or mention.
She told the Nation that there had been attempts to have the case overturned and made civil instead of criminal.
Mathenge was a rich man, his pension was close to Sh10 million at the Kenya Medical Research Institute, a posh house and prime land in Kahawa Sukari worth Sh45 million, prime land in Ruiru and Nanyuki, with his assets said to be worth Sh419 million.
The battle for Mathenge's wealth has been both civil and criminal, and controversial: Muthoni, Mathenge's sister, once going to a Nyeri court and securing a grant of administration to take control of her brother's assets after allegedly conspiring with a local chief that she was the one taking care of the two children left behind by both Mathenge and Wanjiku, arguing that they didn't recognise Njeri as her late brother's wife.
The court later quashed the order granted to Muthoni after Njeri's lawyer challenged it, saying the entire process of granting it was based on fraud and forged documents and that the order was flawed.
Documents seen by the Nation show that the grant was issued on May 27, 2020 to Muthoni, who was named as the respondent in the case.
In court documents, Njeri insists that she is the legal wife of her late husband as no one objected to their union when he was alive.
She says she is the one who signed the burial permit and his original certificate, that she has been paying school fees for the two children left behind by her husband and her sister, and that she has all the documents relating to her husband's assets.
Njeri did not have any children with Mathenge.