Koinange’s wealth: After 35 years of wait and court battles, the late Mbiyu Koinange’s Sh. 17.4 billion estate was finally shared among his family in 2015 The sharing was directed by a court ruling that ordered the manner in which the properties would be distributed among Koinange’s family members. And true to the billionaire status of Mbiyu Koinange, the court ruling made Kenya’s newest billionaires.
According to the court ruling, his two widows and their ten children were bequeathed the Sh. 17.4 billion estate, which straddles four counties.
But while the two widows and their children were happy with the court decision, this was not the case for two other women, who also claimed to have been Koinange’s wives and therefore wanted a piece of his estate.
The women and their children walked away empty-handed after the court ruled that there was no proof they were married to the tycoon. Koinange died on September 3, 1981, triggering a scramble for his vast estate that included over 5,000 acres of prime land in Nairobi, Kiambu, Nakuru and Mombasa as well as shares in hotels, agriculture and manufacturing industries, among others.
The patriarch’s first wife, Loise Mbiyu, and her children got a large piece of the estate bagging more than 2,500 acres. Ruth Mbiyu and her children secured 2,300 acres. But Margaret Njeri and Eddah Wanjiru, who had also claimed to be his widows, and their children, got nothing.
The two women were said to have had contact with the deceased but never married him. The property that was shared out included the 4,292-acre Muthera Farm in Mau Narok, Ehothia Farm (645 acres), Waihuthia (198 acres), Closeburn Estate in Kiambu (176 acres), Thirstine Plot (267 acres), Thimbigua in Runda (96 acres) and Ikinu Farm (11 acres), a building block on Biashara Street, four second-row beach plots, 14 blocks of go-downs in Mombasa, among other plots in Nakuru, Nairobi and Kiambu counties.
The shares were in Koinange Investments and Development Limited (32,000), Koira Ltd (948,480), Kenyattu (508), Limuru Dairy, ICDC, Elburgon Sawmill, Mbo-I-Kamiti, Gatatha Farmers Company Limited (165), BAT, Kenya Co-operative Creameries Limited, Kenya Planters Co-operative Union Limited, Horticultural Co-operative Union Limited, Theta Group Limited, Kenya Grain Growers Co-operative Union Limited, Oceanview Beach Hotel (11,000) and Oceanic Hotel in Mombasa.
The beneficiaries of the vast wealth were children from his first marriage namely David Njunu, George Kihara, Paul Mbatia together with their sisters Mary Wambui and Elizabeth Waruinu. Florence Wanjiku, Isaac Njunu, David Waiganjo, Solomon Kihara and Lenna Wanjiku, Koinange’s children with his second wife, also got a share of the pie.
Mr Kihara got the largest share of 853 acres, followed by Mr Njunu (803 acres) and Mr Mbatia (709 acres). Isaac Njunu got 635 acres whereas Mr Waiganjo was allocated 661 acres. Among the girls, Lenna got the lion’s share of the land with 617 acres followed by Ms Waruinu’s family, which got more than 290 acres of land.
Barbara Wambui (Ms Wanjiku’s daughter) got 290 acres. Kihara’s (deceased) daughter Angela Wambui got 290 acres while Ms Wambui’s (deceased) daughter Stella Njeri got 281 acres. Road reserves gobbled up 221 acres. A further 11 acres were earmarked for a police station. Two acres were set aside for a family cemetery.
The judge also evenly distributed, among Mbiyu’s family, the companies’ shares and directed them to sell the land in Lunga Lunga, Nairobi, to settle all the debts accrued by the estate. Lawyers for the administrators were ordered to account for the money the estate had accrued in Ecobank.
Justice Musyoka took away the powers to administer Koinange’s estate from Wanjiru and Njeri, and ordered that the former (Wanjiru) should return 11,000 Ocean View Hotel shares and a parcel of land in Kiambaa to the estate.

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