What you need to know:
- Kenyans may never know the total value of the late president’s enormous wealth estimated to have been in the billions of shillings.
- Mr Moi wrote the Will on November 15, 2005, four years after leaving power and 14 years before his death.
Kenya’s longest-serving president, Daniel Toroitich Arap Moi, bequeathed the fat portion of his assets to his five sons, while his daughters got a fixed cash inheritance from his vast estate.
Snippets from a Will filed in court shows that Moi left behind for distribution to his beneficiaries a parcel of land and Sh300 million in cash.
The rest of his wealth is held in un-named movable and immovable assets, indicating that Kenyans may never know the total value of the late president’s enormous wealth estimated to have been in the billions of shillings.
The one property identified in the court filings is registered as LR No. 24480/2 comprising of 931 hectares, which he instructed to be held by the Trustees of Kabarak University.
The trustees will hold the property for the benefit of Moi’s five sons (Jonathan Kipkemboi Moi, Raymond Moi, John Mark Moi, Philip Moi and Gideon Moi), equally, during their lifetime.
This means that to his sons, Mr Moi left a continuous stream of income from Kabarak University. For as long as the university continues to operate as a profitable business, the Moi sons and their children will continue to earn money from the institution.
And upon their (the sons’) death, their children will take by substitution the share of the estate which their father would have inherited. If more than one, the Moi’s grandchildren will take their respective parent’s inheritance in equal shares between them.
In the Will, Kenya’s second president gave a one-off payment of Sh100 million to each of his daughters Jenifer Chemutai Moi, Doris Chekorir Moi and June Chebet Moi, appearing to favour his sons over the daughters.
In an interesting turn of events, Mr Moi seemed to have overlooked his long standing differences with his son Jonathan, who also got an equal share of the Kabarak University proceeds.
When Mr Moi divorced his wife Lena, his son Jonathan opted to stay by his mother's side. As a result, Jonathan's relationship with his father was always frosty.
Mr Moi wrote the Will on November 15, 2005, four years after leaving power and 14 years before his death. He amended and rewrote the Will on March 30, 2010.
The court filings reveal that old age had not been kind to Mr Moi. Recurrent pneumonia had triggered health complications that eventually claimed his life on February 4, 2020, at the age of 95 years.
His death was caused by “asystole due to septic shock due to candid and klebsiella septicaemia due to recurrent pneumonia”, the death certificate shows.
A vicious succession court battle playing out in court has largely remained a private affair until a health services company and the family of a former chief attempted to halt distribution of the properties to the beneficiaries.
Maestro Connections Health Systems Ltd and the family of ex-chief Noah Chelugui had separately petitioned the court to stop lawyer Zehrabanu Janmohamed, who is managing Moi’s vast estate, from distributing his properties.
But Justice Aggrey Muchelule dismissed their bids. In regard to the chief’s family protest, the judge said the court could not stop the implementation of Moi’s will at this stage. In regard to protests by Maestro, the judge said the property it was laying claim on is not listed in the Will.
Lawyer Janmohamed is listed as the executrix and trustee of the Will with control over all his movable and immovable property “whatsoever and wheresoever”. This includes any property over which Moi may have had a general power of appointment or disposition by will, the document indicates.
“My trustee shall hold the said property upon trust to sell the same with power in her absolute discretion to postpone such sale for so long as she shall think fit without being liable for loss,” reads the Will.
Moi had directed her to hold the proceeds of sale and all unsold property and his ready money. She was supposed to pay his funeral debts and testamentary expenses.
He also directed that the residue of his estate be given to his five sons equally and absolutely. Since Jonathan passed away in 2019, a year before Moi, the Will indicates that his inheritance goes to his child/children upon attaining the age of 21 and if more than one in equal shares between them.
The Will also indicates that the trustee, Ms Janmohamed, has the powers “to invest (irrespective of the amount of income produced) and change the investments freely as if she was beneficiary entitled (with power to invest in property for the occupation or use of a beneficiary)”.
Any immovable property will be held by the trustees on trust either to retain or sell it with power to postpone sale.
Ms Janmohamed also has the powers to delegate investment decisions and to invest in the name of a nominee or nominees.
She is expected to seek from the court the confirmation of her authority to execute the will and distribute the estate to the beneficiaries. The application is expected to receive opposition from the family of the Eldoret ex-chief, Mr Chelugui.
While dismissing an attempt by the ex-chief’s family to stop execution of the will last month, High Court Judge Aggrey Muchelule noted that the Moi’s trustee will notify the ex-chief’s family upon filing the application for confirmation of the grant.
“All that I would like to say at this stage is that, when the lawyer will seek the confirmation of that grant of probate she will serve the protester who will formally file his protest to the application. At that stage the court will deal with the protest,” said Justice Muchelule.
The family, through its kin Mr David Chelugui, had lodged a protest seeking to block the lawyer from receiving confirmation of grant unless Sh1 billion his family was awarded in 2019 in a land battle with the former Head of State is factored in.
But the judge found that President Moi had filed an appeal against the award at the Court of Appeal in Kisumu, and the same is pending determination.
The ex-chief’s family had urged the court that until the appeal is heard and determined, the grant issued to the Moi’s lawyer should not be confirmed.
Moi allegedly grabbed the Cheluguis’ 53-acre land in Eldoret on September 21, 1983, before selling the prime property to the Jaswant Rai family.
In May 2019, High Court judge Antony Ombwayo ordered Moi and the Rai family-owned Rai Plywood to pay Chelugui’s family Sh1 billion for illegally taking over the land. Mr Moi challenged the compensation order at the Court of Appeal in Kisumu but died nine months later.