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Inside the unfolding fight for Kirubi’s multi-billion shilling empire

Even as businessman Chris Kirubi’s carefully planned and star-studded funeral rights took place this week, behind the facade displayed by family and business associates, an imminent succession dispute over the billionaires wealth was brewing over one of Kenya’s wealthiest families, we can independently confirm.

According to reliable sources that lifted the lid on behind-the-scene goings on, the family is scheduled in the coming week to begin holding a series of succession meetings with lawyers and business executives whom the late Kirubi shared board positions with to discuss future structures of Kirubi’s business empire.

At the center of the dispute is Kirubi’s little-known Dubai based daughter Fiona who was systematically omitted from funeral arrangements by step-siblings Maryanne and Robert who publicly approved of a glossy funeral program that declared themselves as Kirubi’s only two kids.

As we went to the press, Fiona was allowed to read an emotional tribute to her dad as the “last born” of the late business magnate but behind the scene stakeholders were independently preparing themselves for a court battle which analysts say is expected to morph into an embarassing public implosion of

Fiona who works as an investment banker in Dubai had jeeted into Nairobi when reports reached her that her father was gravely ill and nearing his last days. To her utter shock, she was denied entry to Kirubi’s heavily fortified Kitsuru mansion which had since been converted into a luxury ICU ward.

Matters got worse when Maryanne and Robert printed eulogies showing Kirubi had only two children, a development indicative that there were plans to disinherit her. Fiona immediately contacted her lawyers in Nairobi with instructions to put an immediate court injunctions barring her step-siblings from being sole administrators of her father’s vast estate. The lawyers are now sitting and waiting for further instructions to file suit.

Meanwhile, Maryanne who married to lawyer Andrew Mukite Musangi is also growing increasingly restless by rumours amongst the Kirubi clan that her husband has been branded a gold digger.

Kirubi’s exact wealth portfolio is unknown but experts have estimated him to he worth a staggering Sh50 billion and his death has complicated matters for his children. As at his last moments, doctors prognosis showed he only had days to live and he was advised to make a will. It is not clear if this will was ever made.

In what observers say may open a can of worms, both Maryanne and Robert are increasingly growing suspicious of Kirubi’s business “sons” Polycap Igathe and James Mworia who know more about the dad’s business deals than themselves.

Before he became running mate to Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko, 48 year old Igathe had worked for 10 years as CEO in Haco Industries one of Kirubi’s foremost companies. He currently works as Chief Commercial Officer in Equity Group Holdings but has remained close to the late Kirubi but has remained close to his mentor.

Mworia who is now 43 is CEO of Kirubi’s Centum Investment Company, the largest publicly traded private capital firm in Eastern Africa.

Together with Aisha Hussein, Kirubi’s long serving Executive Assistant, Igathe and Mworia have more than passing interest in how Kirubi’s succession will unfold and are key in ensuring the business empire he founded remains standing.

Observers were also predicting that Kirubi’s unknown children who had no role apportioned to them during the funeral will start emerging and demanding their right to inheritance of their late father’s estate and this will be resisted by the known children leading to a vicious court room battle.

With talk that some board members had started intermeddling with the late tycoons assets, stakeholders are now viewing each other suspiciously and it remains to be seen who will emerge as the legitimate administrator of the vast estate of the late Chris Kirubi.

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    Written by Kate Baraza

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