Elite athletes Eliud Kipchoge, Brimin Kipruto embroiled in Sh100m property row with their colleague and his wife

Athletes Eliud Kipchoge, Daniel Komen and Brimin Kipruto.

Athletes Eliud Kipchoge, Daniel Komen and Brimin Kipruto.

Photo credit: FIle

Kenya’s celebrated athletes are embroiled in a battle over the ownership of a Sh100 million matrimonial property involving former runner Daniel Komen and his wife Joyce Komen.

Mrs Komen, a senior lecturer at Moi University in Eldoret, has sued her husband, alongside elite runners— including Eliud Kipchoge, former World Marathon record holder and double Olympic champion, and Brimin Kipruto, the 2008 winner of 3,000 metre steeplechase in the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.

Also sued are cereal farmers-cum-businessmen Felex Kipchoge Lagat, and Peter Kipsigei Lagat over what she terms as illegal sale of their matrimonial property.

Mrs Komen, who heads the university’s department of management science, has accused her husband of selling the family property to the four defendants without involving her, despite having equal shares in the disputed parcel of land.

At the centre of the legal fight before Justice Reuben Nyakundi of the High Court in Eldoret is a prime agricultural land measuring 200 acres, LR Number 8638/26, Southern East of Eldoret Municipality in Uasin Gishu County.

Mrs Komen says she was shocked to learn that Mr Kipchoge, Mr Kipruto and the Lagats were claiming to have bought the land.


“I have also learned with shock that the property was sold at just Sh10 million, which represents just 10 percent of the actual value of the land,” Mrs Komen says in an affidavit filed in court through her lawyer Patrick Kibii.

She alleges that she contributed a substantial amount of money towards the development of the property, and that it is currently worth well over Sh100 million.

“My husband has never mentioned it to me that he had sold the land, leave alone the intention to sell the property,” argues Mrs Komen in the documents before court.

The disputed property, she says, was acquired and developed by joint efforts of the couple during their marriage, but was registered in the name of her husband in the trust of the family.

“I took various loans to fund the purchase and development of the property, which was the only family home as I married Komen at a time when he had no place to call home,” she states in court documents.

Mrs Komen told the judge that she got married to Mr Komen on November 5, 1998, through a church wedding in Eldoret, and that they are blessed with three children, a fact that her husband confirmed to the court.

The university don claimed the purported sale was riddled with fraud and deceit, and that no consent was obtained from the Lands Control Board since she was not invited to attend the board meeting.

“I talked to the area chief, Mr Tarus, who ought to have given his consent in normal circumstances, but he has informed me that he never wrote any letter to the board.”

Judge to determine

In her case, Mrs Komen has raised five constitutional issues that she wants the judge to determine, key among them whether, as a wife of Daniel Komen, she has a right to be involved in a transaction involving a family property.

Mrs Komen wants the court to determine whether the purported transaction conducted on February 8, 2012, between her husband and other defendants is a clear violation of her constitutional rights.

She also wants Justice Nyakundi to determine whether the purported transaction is a nullity for violating clear provisions of the law.

Additionally, the lecturer wants the court to determine whether, as a spouse, she is entitled to an equal share of the property in question, and whether she is entitled to costs and any other reliefs.

In his rejoinder, Mr Komen dismisses his wife’s claims that they jointly owned the land, arguing that he is the sole registered owner of the suit property measuring 89.03 hectares.

He, however, admits that the plaintiff is his wife, whom she married on November 28, 1998, and that they were blessed with children.

“It is true we jointly applied for a loan of Sh6 million with my wife to settle the outstanding balance of the purchase price of the said suit property to the former owners of the land, the family of Kwambai and Chesire, exclusive of other developments on the land done by my wife,” the athlete says in his replying affidavit.

Consent of his wife

He says he sold the matrimonial property to the four defendants, including Mr Kipchoge, claiming it was with the consent of his wife.

According to Komen, Mr Kipchoge and Mr Kirputo jointly bought 120 acres and not 150 acres as alleged by his wife, Felex took 50 acres while Peter got 20 acres.

Mr Komen wants the issues raised by his wife to be sorted out of the court, stating that his request was the best option in the case.

In their replying affidavit, the defendants led by Mr Kipchoge say in September and October 2011, they were informed by Mr Komen that he had a parcel of land for sale.

“We informed him that we were interested in purchasing the property and then Komen entered into a sale agreement with us on October 4, 2011, where we bought the property at a sum of Sh10 million,” stated Kipchoge.

“We did due diligence after confirming that the land in question was indeed registered under his name.”

Mr Kipchoge explains that they paid the money through Kimaru Kiplagat and Company Advocates who were acting for him and Mr Kipruto.

He states that while they were in the process of finalising the first sale agreement, Mr Komen offered to sell them an additional 80 acres of land at Sh25.6 million.

He points out that since the four of them knew each other, they requested Mr Komen to effect the land transfers to avoid a multiplicity of transactions.

Mr Kipchoge adds they have deployed five guards and workers to secure the property in dispute, noting that they had planted various crops on the same.

“I am only a purchaser for the land and I did not know of any perceived dispute between Komen and his wife Joyce Komen,” Mr Kipchoge argues in the affidavit.

Justice Nyakundi on Tuesday asked the parties to appear before him on Monday, May 20, for further directions on the case.