What you need to know:
- In the disputed Will, Thuo distributed his property, estimated to be worth Sh1 billion, to his two wives and children.
- The properties include Abbey Resort in Nakuru town, Abbey House in Nairobi, commercial buildings in Nakuru town, and prime land in Nakuru, Gilgil, Murang'a and Nairobi.
A decision by the late Nakuru mayor Joseck Thuo Ngeta to entrust his Will documents to his driver is now the subject of a bitter inheritance battle between his two families over his Sh1 billion estate.
Thuo, a pre-independence politician, councillor and businessman, died at Mater Hospital on December 27, 2021 at the age of 88.
He is survived by two wives, Mary Wanjiru Thuo and Susan Wanjiru Thuo, and five children, James Ngeta, Geoffrey Ngeta, Eric Kimondo, Nixon Kariuki and Judy Mukami.
After his death, two people, Waiharo Harrison Ngeta and Nahashon Mahugu Kibiri, went to court to be confirmed as executors of a controversial Will he allegedly left behind. The two claimed that Thuo left behind a written Will dated February 3, 2016, naming them as executors.
However, the said Will is being contested by Thuo's first wife and two children, who suspect that it has been forged.
The family objected to the grant of probate after the tycoon's driver, Robert Kavisu, read mischief in the behaviour of Thuo's son, Geoffrey Thuo (by his second wife) in the last moments of his life.
According to court documents, the former mayor had entrusted the driver with the document and allowed him to carry it in his vehicle.
According to the driver, the politician-turned-billionaire businessman used two vehicles; a Land Cruiser V8 and a Mercedes Benz.
When using the V8, Thuo would place the Will in the glove compartment, but when using the Mercedes, he would place it in the hand rest compartment on the back seat and instruct the driver to ensure that he travelled with the Will.
Kavisu claimed to have met Thuo while working at his construction site at Abey Resort in 2007, before promoting him to be his personal driver in 2020.
“It was during this time that he produced a document and asked me to read the cover page out loud where I confirmed it was the deceased’s Will as per the writings on the cover page, he called it ‘Kitabu’ covered in a newspaper marked JT appended with the deceased signature,” Kavisu said.
Even on his deathbed, the court heard, the former mayor asked Kavisu for his Will, which he confirmed was in the car. He gave him instructions that if he succumbed to the disease, he should hand it over to his son Nixon after three days.
However, when he was transferred to the hospital in Nairobi, Kavisu said Geoffrey demanded the car key from him when he went to his home.
Upon learning of Thuo's death, Kavisu went to the car to retrieve the Will as per his boss's wishes, only to discover that the Will had been misplaced and placed in an envelope, contrary to how Thuo had wrapped and stapled it in a newspaper that he had marked JT and attached his signature.
He later learned that there had been a family dispute over the contents of the Will, which he had given to Nixon. This prompted him to reveal to Nixon his suspicions about the condition in which he had found the Will.
The driver also claimed that Geoffrey had later approached him to persuade him to side with them.
And now a forensic document examiner has confirmed that the Will is a forgery.
Emmanuel Karisa Kenga, a forensic document examiner and retired police commissioner, told the court that there were inconsistencies in the handwriting, signatures and fonts.
“There are no similarities in the handwriting to indicate that they are from a common origin. There is evidence of manipulation, insertion on the 'WILL' which implies that it is not a true copy of the original,” Mr Kenga said.
In the disputed Will, Thuo distributed his property, estimated to be worth Sh1 billion, to his two wives and children.
The properties include Abbey Resort in Nakuru town, Abbey House in Nairobi, commercial buildings in Nakuru town, and prime land in Nakuru, Gilgil, Murang'a and Nairobi.
The hearing continues.