Six years into a court battle over the estate of the late British tycoon Richard Crawford, the affected parties seem to have softened their stance.
Former workers, family members and business partners are locked in a vicious fight for the control of the Sh74 million estate left behind in 2014.
Ms Sarah Joselyn, who was Crawford’s secretary and Mr Stephen Ngatia, a member of his adopted family, have agreed to settle the dispute out of court. They will withdraw a case challenging the confirmation of the grant.
Ms Joselyn, who filed the succession case before a Nakuru court in 2015, had sought to be confirmed the administrator of the estate before her petition was challenged by Mr Ngatia.
The businessman alleged that the case was filed using forged documents.
A will purportedly written by Crawford on January 9, 2009, which Ms Joselyn produced in court, indicated that the tycoon had appointed her the executor and given her the entire estate.
Following Mr Ngatia’s objection, the grant was suspended on January 20, 2017, pending hearing and determination of the application. Four three years later, the parties were still trying to establish the authenticity of the documents.
The case later mutated into a criminal matter, where Ms Joselyn was arrested and charged with forgery of the documents. She was charged with forging Crawford’s will and uttering them before the Nakuru High Court registry with an intent to defraud his wealth.
The prosecution had claimed that Ms Joslyn authored a Power of Authority document on August 14, 2008, which he purported to be a genuine document allegedly written by Crawford in the witness of one Caroline Shilaho of Shilaho and Company Advocates.
She, however, challenged the criminal proceedings at the High Court and sought to have them quashed.
During the same period, former Crawford’s farm workers came forward with hopes of getting a piece of the tycoon’s estate, arguing that they had been promised some shares. Mr Wycliffe Waita, who claimed to be a former employee, sought to be enjoined in the matter.
Justice Teresia Matheka allowed the withdrawal of the application by Mr Ngatia. She also vacated the orders issued by Justice Anthony Ndungu last year to suspend the grant of probate.
“The parties having agreed to withdraw the matter, the application dated January 18, 2017 is hereby marked as withdrawn,” ruled Justice Matheka.
Crawford arrived in Kenya in the 1950s and settled in Mwariki Estate, where practiced horticulture and kept pet animals, including dogs and donkeys. He founded the Blue Cross Kennels.
The tycoon died after suffering from Parkinson’s disease.