John Keen's granddaughter fails to overturn ruling on Sh4.8m estate

Politician John Keen

Late politician John Keen speaks at his home on December 21, 2011.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

A grandchild of former politician John Keen has lost her bid to reverse a court ruling that declined to allow her to get Sh4.8 million from his estate to pay fees at a university in Australia.

Zola Sinet Keen had asked the court to set aside a ruling delivered on July 19, 2021, in which Justice Aggrey Muchelule (now a judge of the Court of Appeal) denied her request to order the executors of Mr Keen’s will to pay her fees and accommodation charges.

She wanted her university fees of Sh4,818,126 and accommodation of Australian dollars 26,400 paid by the executors, saying she was a student at the University of Sydney.

Mr Keen died on December 25, 2016, and left a written will dated December 2, 2015, indicating how his wealth, estimated to be worth Sh13 billion, would be distributed.

In her suit, Ms Keen said the executors, Pamela Soila Keen and Rosemary Sanau Keen, had failed and refused to pay her fees and accommodation charges, and that she stood to be discontinued in her studies if payment was not made.

The executors opposed the request, stating that she had completed her studies for which the estate had been paying, and therefore there was no further obligation to release any more money.

Completed her studies

Justice Muchelule declined to grant the orders because, given previous statements by Ms Keen and her father, she ought to have completed her studies.

He observed that they had not provided any evidence that she was still in school and in need of fees or accommodation.

The judge’s decision prompted Ms Keen to seek a revision of the ruling, arguing that she was still at the university, having changed her course from Bachelor of Science to Bachelor of Arts/Advanced Studies, which she considered to be a more suitable career path.

She said that at the time she filed her application for the provision of the fees on March 2, 2020, she was in the third year of her studies, which she completed in November of the same year. Her fourth year of studies was to run from February 2021 to August 2021.

She stated that owing to delays in payment of fees, she had been diagnosed with “left basal ganglia/corona radiata infarction”, which had led her to seek leave of absence from the university to recuperate.

Rejoin the second semester

The university had permitted her to rejoin the second semester of the fourth year of her studies in the hope that the disputed ruling would be in her favour. She accused her previous advocates of not bringing all the relevant information to the attention of the court.

However, the judge dismissed the review application, saying there was no new relevant information to support the request for provision of the school fees.

The judge said the evidence that Ms Keen was relying on for the application for review was always within her knowledge.

“It was evident from the applicant’s application that the facts relied on for review were not new facts as they were known to her at the time of the application dated December 14, 2020,” said Justice Muchelule.

He added that she cannot blame her previous advocates for withholding evidence as she was in possession of the relevant material evidence at the time of the application but did not make it available to the court to persuade it to decide in her favour.

The executors stated that Ms Keen’s medical condition was pre-existing and that her father had received an inheritance from Mr Keen’s estate that could cater for her fees and accommodation in Australia. Her father, Edward Meitamei Keen, was Mr Keen’s son.

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