Money Inc

Billionaire Nginyo Kariuki: Mpango’s kids now demanding Sh4 billion inheritance!

The three children would trouser home Sh400 million each if wealth was shared equally

Sins of the father: Former Opposition chief Raila Odinga consoles Margaret Nginyo. Kids from Nginyo’s mpango say they enjoyed foreign trips among other goodies and cannot be denied inheritance in death.

By Shifa Mwihaki

Feature writer/Essayist

@UndercoverKe

A billionaire’s mpango’s children have lunged for a piece of the Sh4 billion inheritance bonanza including rental income from Nginyo Towers on Koinange street, Nairobi.

Billionaire Nginyo Kariuki, father of six, died at 82 this February 24. Six months later, three children from his mpango wa kando, have sued his wife, Margaret Wangari Nginyo, demanding a share of the billions- which Nginyo started making from selling manure in Kiambu County over 50 years 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 and her six children. And just this September, his mpango, Margaret Wanjiru also filed a separate suit blocking Nginyo’s First Family from executing his will until the case is heard and determined.

Mpango wa kando has filed photos, financial records and accounts of foreign travel spanning over 35 years

Be careful what you wish for: Nginyo Kariuki and his mpango, Margaret Wanjiru enjoying a cruise in River Thames, London. She told the court they were an item for over 35 years.

Wanjiru said she met Nginyo in 1984 and bore him twins two years later. She has filed photos, financial records and accounts of foreign travel spanning over 35 years as proof of their marriage. One banking record shows Nginyo sent her Sh250, 000 in December 2019.

She claims Nginyo’s assets have been misrepresented as 55 houses in Gathima Estate, Lenana Mount Hotel and Nginyo Towers are not included in the will.

Matters began coming to a head when Brenda and her brothers were excluded in Nginyo’s obituary. They only took part in his burial via a court order. Brenda’s suit papers say paternity test results prove Nginyo was their biological father- whom she often represented in court.

Nginyo’s assets sweep across large-scale agriculture, property, real estate, hospitality and over Sh300 million in a fixed deposit

Sons of fortune: Margaret Wanjiru and twin Nginyo’s twin sons. The siblings have tabled paternity test results showing Nginyo was their biological father.

Nginyo’s First Family do not dispute the existence of the ‘second family’. Just that they’re not to be treated as equals-igniting the current court case. The mpango and her kids 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.

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There is also Sh84 million in government bonds generating Sh9 million annual interest and Sh18 million in shares with Sh17 million as EABL stock. The millions at Equity and Habib banks have not been disclosed.

Other income is 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.

We spend little time learning how money is made, and inheritance becomes the easiest route to Easy Street

A matter of honour: Nginyo Towers along Nairobi’s Koinange Street was his flagship investment. The land once belonged to Margaret Wambui Kenyatta, Uhuru’s half-sister until she sold it to Nginyo. He later tore down the building and erected what you are looking at.

There is also his 200 acre coffee farm (now 120 acres) in Redhill, Tigoni. Bought for Sh40, 000 in 1972, it would now cost the upwards of a billion if sold. Nginyo bought it from a departing mzungu doctor at the Kiambu Golf Club.

There are a litany of reasons children fight over daddy’s billions. The culture of spending socializes people into consumption and eminent economist X.N. Iraki argues that “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 ‘upper-class socialization’, born with silver spoons, they are infected with chronic economic laziness

Hidden in plain sight: Swiss Lenana Mount Hotel in Nairobi is among assets the mpango laments was excluded in Nginyo Kariuki’s will.

Children of the wealthy also suffer ‘upper-class socialization’ as the late University of Nairobi sociologist Ken Ouko once argued and 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.

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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.

Kenyans have been treated to feuds involving billionaire families including the muhindis of Villa Rosa Kempinski

The endgame: Nginyo Kaariuki’s is not the first inheritance dispute in court. Even Mbiyu Koinange’s Sh10 billion inheritance dispute was recently solved in court after over 30years.

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 Sh820 million only!

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