Naivas Estate Dispute: Judge Warns Siblings that their Deceased Father is Likely Turning in his Grave

March 12, 2024

Naivas supermarket - the biggest supermarket in kenyaIn the ongoing legal dispute over Naivas Supermarket founder Peter Mukuha’s estate, the High Court in Nakuru has urged Mukuha’s children to end the ongoing disputes and reach a resolution.

Mr. Mukuha passed away on May 6, 2010, leaving a substantial estate that included significant shares in Naivas Limited, the company operating Naivas supermarkets.

His nine surviving children have been engaged in legal disputes over the estate.

On October 6, 2016, Simon Gashwe, one of Mukuha’s sons, was appointed as the estate administrator. However, Gashwe passed away on August 26, 2019, leaving the administration of the estate in an unresolved state.

In 2022, 2023, and January 22, 2024, siblings Newton Kagira, Grace Wamboi, and David Kimani, separately filed applications seeking court orders to revoke and rectify the grant issued to Gashwe and replace him as the estate’s administrator.

In their applications, Wamboi and Kagira argued that the grant issued to Gashwe became obsolete upon his death, leaving the estate without a designated administrator.

Mr. Kagira further stated that Gashwe died before completing the administration of the estate, posing the risk of potential wastage.

Ms. Wamboi stated that her brother passed away before concluding the administrative work, and the estate had encountered legal challenges.

On the other hand, Mr. Kimani opposed Kagira’s application, alleging that his involvement in filing cases against the estate created a conflict of interest. According to Kimani, Gashwe had already distributed the estate to all beneficiaries before his demise.

Court Ruling

In his ruling, Justice Heston Nyaga addressed the applications filed by Wamboi and Kagira, noting that Kimani was yet to appear before the court.

The judge observed that it seemed the estate had already undergone substantial distribution, and therefore, the court’s role was to grant letters of administration to any of the heirs to complete the remaining distribution of the estate.

Justice Nyaga acknowledged that all three applicants held equal standing, necessitating an evaluation of various factors to determine the most suitable person to oversee the distribution of the remainder of the estate. These factors included the consent of other parties and the existence of conflicts of interest, among others.

“There is no one who is good and bad, but here, who is the most suitable,” ruled Justice Nyaga.

The court mandated that Grace Wamboi obtain the consent of her siblings before taking over as the administrator of their father’s extensive multi-million estate.

The court deemed Mr. Kagira unsuitable for overseeing the distribution of the estate due to pending cases at the Court of Appeal against the late executor Gashwe.

Concerning Wamboi’s application, the court deemed her suitable, but her application lacked the backing of other siblings.

More than one administrator

As a result, the court granted her time to seek consent from the remaining siblings and to agree on an additional person who would jointly administer the estate with her.

“This estate may require more than one administrator from each faction since the family seems to have been drawn into different factions to enable the completion of the distribution of the estate,” ruled the court.

The judge expressed regret over the ongoing disputes among the siblings, cautioning that they were disrespecting their deceased father’s wishes.

“The incessant dispute in this cause will make the deceased turn in his grave if he is not doing so already,” said the judge.

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