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Karume kin, trustees strike truce in Sh17b property row

Irene Githinji @gitshee

The tussle over the multi-billion-shilling estate owned by former Cabinet minister the late Njenga Karume has taken a new turn, as parties negotiated a truce to sort out pending issues.

This is after the trustees, executors and beneficiaries agreed to form a Mediation Council for the estimated Sh17.5 billion Karume’s estate and unanimously stayed the ongoing court process.

The council has 10 members comprising Karume’s family representatives, trustees and executors, with Stephen Karau being appointed as the official spokesperson.

Among other issues, Karau said the council has identified and unanimously agreed that some assets will be sold off to enable the estate pay some urgent and outstanding debts owed to creditors.

Among the outstanding arrears the family seeks to settle include the Sh2.5 billion owed to Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA).

Some of the assets to be disposed off include the 140-acre Kachoroba tea estate, Village Inn hotel, 25 acres of land in Elementaita and five acres of land in Muchatha, Kiambu.

“This is a major development, which will see the vast estate restored and its huge potential unlocked so that it can serve those it was intended for. The success of mediation process will set a good precedent for other families facing similar circumstances,” Karau said.

“The mediation council has become the supreme decision-making organ for the estate. It brings together stakeholders who have all unanimously agreed to freeze the court process and formally informed it of this decision in a letter from mediators dated August 16,” Karau added.

All parties signed a document allowing for mediation process in May. Karume’s estate has been on the spotlight owing to court battles coupled with disagreements on who and how they should be managed.

Karau said the controversies have caused distress to the trustees, executors and beneficiaries, who have since come together and sought alternative dispute resolution mechanism.

Jane Mukuhi Matu, the fifth born daughter, said that the most important aspect is to ensure her father’s wishes are carried out to the letter.

She said the matter has caused untold strain on the family and was optimistic that all issues will soon be settled.

“We may have had some differences on my father’s estate implementing strategies but we have agreed to put aside our interests for a common good,” Mukuhi said.

Karume, who succumbed to cancer on February, 2012, had put all his wealth under three holding companies to be managed by the Njenga Karume Trust under the trustees.

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