The three children would trouser home Sh400 million each if wealth was shared equally
By GW Ngari
A billionaire’s ‘other children’ are lunging for a piece of the Sh4 billion inheritance including rental income from Nginyo Towers on Koinange street, Nairobi.
Nginyo Kariuki, father of six, died at 82 this February 24. Seven months later, three children from his mpango, have sued his wife, Margaret Wangari Nginyo, demanding a share the billions- which Nginyo started making from selling manure in Kiambu County over half a century ago. If shared equally, each beneficiary would trouser home Sh400 million.
The petition is led by lawyer Brenda Nyambura Kiragu and her twin brothers; Alex Ndoria Karuri and Austin Wachira Karungo, against Margaret Wangari and her six children. Brenda’s mother, Margaret Wanjiru, has also filed applications to be enjoined in the case. Besides attaching evidence of her 30 plus year love affair with the late Nginyo, Wanjiru has also listed properties which were not included in the letters of administration.
Matters began coming to a head when they were excluded from his obituary. They only took part in Nginyo’s burial via a court order. Brenda’s suit papers say DNA test results prove Nginyo was their biological father- whom she often represented in court.
There is also Sh84 million in government bonds generating Sh9 million annual interest
Nginyo’s First Family do not dispute their existence. Just that they’re not to be treated as equals-igniting the current court case. They are challenging Nginyo’s 2014 Will which also excluded them as beneficiaries of assets sweeping across large-scale agriculture, property, real estate, hospitality and over Sh300 million in a fixed deposit account at Consolidated Bank.
There is also Sh84 million in government bonds generating Sh9 million in annual interest and Sh18 million in shares with Sh17 million as EABL stock. The High Court has since frozen withdrawals of the millions held at Equity and Habib banks including monies in fixed deposit until the case is heard and determined.
There is also his 200 acre coffee farm (now 120 acres) in Redhill, Tigoni. Bought for Sh40, 000 in 1972
Other incomes are from Nginyo’s flagship businesses; the Swiss Lenana Mount Hotel in Milimani, Nairobi and Nginyo Towers besides ventures under Nginyo Investments Ltd with assets in excess of Sh200 million. But Margaret Wanjiru has listed the 55 houses in Gathima Estate are not included in Nginyo’s assets.
There is also his 200 acre coffee farm (now 120 acres) in Redhill, Tigoni. Bought for Sh40, 000 in 1972, and which would now cost the upwards of a billion if sold. Nginyo bought it from a departing mzungu doctor at the Kiambu Golf Club.
Children of the wealthy also suffer from ‘upper-class socialization’
There are a litany of reasons children fight over daddy’s billions. One is the culture of spending which socializes people into consumption and as eminent economist X.N. Iraki argues “we spend little time learning how money is made, the stuff of entrepreneurship” and inheritance becomes the easiest route to Easy Street.
Frank Sabwa, a financial consultant, once explained that most patriarchs hardly involve spouses and children in how the family bread was baked. Instead, most take pride and subconsciously “use their money to shield children or spouses from hard work, and when they die, the children are left with wealth but zero management skills.”
Children of the wealthy also suffer from ‘upper-class socialization’ as the late University of Nairobi sociologist Ken Ouko once explained that, born with silver spoons, they are infected with chronic economic laziness blended with a lofty presumptive attitude about access to the goodies of life without investing in any effort.
Starting as a caddie and later a golfer, opened untold business opportunities for Nginyo
Nginyo Kariuki joined the list of Kikuyu Oligarchy without the blue blood that comes with advanced education, political connections or marrying into elite families. He was just a Class Four dropout who made his fortunes the old fashioned way: hard work, seizing opportunities and good old mother luck.
Starting as a caddie and later a golfer, opened untold business opportunities for Nginyo when Kenya gained independence in 1963-the year he came to Nairobi searching for greener pastures.
Nginyo’s is not the first inheritance dispute in court
But Nginyo’s is not the first inheritance dispute in court. Kenyans have been treated to feuds involving the billionaire families of politicians; John Michuki, Njenga Karume, Gerishon Kirima and Mbiyu Koinange whose 30 year run over his Sh10 billion estate was recently solved in court. But there is also former spymaster James Kanyotu and hoteliers Stephen Kung’u, John Kagema, James Mwangi ‘Kahama.’
Even muhindis have the sons of billionaire Abdul Karim Popat whose family owns the Villa Rosa Kempinski in Nairobi besides other properties straddling six continents. But when Adil Popat got over Sh2.5 billion, elder brother Azim sued after inheriting Sh 820 million only!