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Monday, 8 April 2019

High Court nullifies man's Will not signed by witness

Justice
By JOSEPH WANGUI
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The High Court in Kerugoya has invalidated a Will written by a polygamous man from Kirinyaga whose three widows were embroiled in a protracted battle involving the sharing of his properties.
Justice Lucy Gitari found that the Will left behind by Wilfred Munene Ngumi was not legally valid because it had not been signed by any witness.
“Though the deceased had signed the Will, the same was not attested by any witnesses, therefore the same cannot be considered as a valid Will. The alleged Will states how he wished the estate to be distributed,” Justice Gitari said.
TWO WITNESSES
While declining to admit the document, the judge said according to Section 11 of the Law of Succession Act, a valid Will should be attested to by two or more competent witnesses.
The judge resolved a seven-year-old succession dispute in the estate of Mr Ngumi pitting his three wives Loise Wairimu, Pasquelina Wanjiru and Judith Wangui together with their 21 children (nine sons and 12 daughters). The dispute involved the sharing of a 29-acrea piece of land and two plots in Wangu’ru market.
POLYGAMOUS
Justice Gitari ruled that, since Mr Ngumi was polygamous, his properties should be distributed as provided for under Section 40 of the Law of Succession Act, that is, each house according to the number of children and the wife as an additional unit.
She ordered that Mr Ngumi’s plots in Wang’uru market be registered in the names of the three co-wives in equal shares, since it would not be practical to have them distributed to all the beneficiaries.
The judge also directed that the huge parcel of land situated in Gathigiriri be distributed equally among the children and the widows.
Ms Wanjiru and Ms Wangui had protested the mode of distribution proposed by their co-wife, Ms Wairimu, in an application for confirmation of grant.
HOLD IN TRUST
On her part, Ms Wairimu had proposed that from the huge land, she should get 3.536 hectares to hold in trust for herself and her six children.
Ms Wanjiru was to get 5.544 hectares to hold in trust for herself and her 10 children, while Ms Wangui would have gotten 2.52 hectares together with her five children.
She also wanted the two plots in Wang’uru to be registered jointly in the names of the three co-wives in equal shares.
Ms Wanjiru and Ms Wangui protested that Ms Wairimu had not consulted them in her proposal and that before Mr Ngumi’s death, he had sub-divided the land among all his children and wives.
They said Mr Ngumi had left a Will that each of his sons should get two acres of land and the widows also to get two acres each from the Gathigiriri land while the plots were left to all members of his family.

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