The fight in Raila’s home: This was the big story on the Raila family that was to be headlined by The Standard newspaper last year. The story was a revelation of a multi million property battle that for the first time cast the family of former Prime Minister Raila Odinga in the murky waters of wealth disputes.
It involved Raila’s wife, Ida Odinga and the late Fidel Odinga’s wife. Apparently, in the heat of the dispute, Mama Ida had gone to the extent of accusing Fidel’s widow, Lwam Bekele of “masterminding the death of her son. In statements to detectives that were captured in court documents, Ida said that Ms. Lwam was behind the mysterious death of Fidel, their firstborn, in January 2015.
Lwam, for her part, said that Ida had been making “false and unkind” remarks about her in connection to the sudden death of her husband.
It was reported that Raila’s family had become uncomfortable when Lwam was granted the letter of administration of the Fidel Castro Odhiambo Odinga’s estate, which is believed to be worth hundreds of millions.
Mama Ida further told the court that Lwam had deliberately and maliciously provided erroneous, incomplete and non-existent bank account details in an attempt not to be held accountable, and failed to fully declare and give an accurate account of Fidel’s properties. “The said grant was issued erroneously, as it unjustifiably locked out other interested parties from the estate of the deceased, his other children, his mother and sister respectively. The proposed administrators cannot be entrusted alone to faithfully administer according to the law the estate of the deceased and render a true and just account of such estate.”
This prompted Ida and her daughter, Winnie, to file an objection to that, arguing that Lwam was a suspect in the death. They claimed that she vanished soon after Fidel was buried and investigations into the death were launched, then cut off communications.
Fidel and Lwam lived in Tipuana Park in Karen Nairobi. Family records show Fidel had 10 properties and seven bank accounts. The properties include the Tipuana Park house, two parcels of land in Kisumu and one in Kajiado, shares in two companies – Axum Investments Ltd and Ambesa Investments Ltd.
It also emerged that Fidel held one account each at Diamond Trust Bank, Stanchart, Stanbic, ABC Bank and three accounts at Gulf Bank. Fidel also owned four cars – two Range Rovers, a Nissan Sunny, and a Mercedes Benz.
To strengthen her case seeking to have the court to wrestle Fidel’s estate from Lwam, Mama Ida said that Fidel had twins from a different relationship with Phoebe Akinyi Gweno. Birth documents showed the twins were born six months after Fidel’s death but do not indicate the father of the minors.
While the certificates indicate that the minors were born on July 1, 2015, Ida claimed the late Fidel supported the minors while he was still alive. Lwam, who claimed the Raila family had not been supporting her son’s education, said that if proved the two were sired by Fidel, she would include them as beneficiaries.”
In refuting claims by the Odinga family that she excluded several properties from an inventory of assets her late husband owned, Lwam said that her strained relationship with Ida is the cause of the succession dispute. The alleged assets excluded, which the widow said she had no knowledge of, included three top-of-the-range vehicles, three bank accounts and her matrimonial home. Lwam also said that she was not aware of the Mercedes Benz her late husband allegedly owned, while one of the Range Rovers that was alleged to be in her possession was owned by her late husband’s business partner who was only identified as Hossein. The second Range Rover, she argued, was registered in the name of an individual identified as Yunis Muhammed.
The death of Fidel in 2015 has since remained a mystery. His body was discovered in his Karen house on a Sunday morning after spending Saturday afternoon and evening with friends before being driven home by a taxi. At around 6.30am, Lwam said she went to check on her husband only to discover his lifeless body. She then called her mother-in-law, Ida. “It remains unclear why she hastily ran away and kept off the family,” Ida and Winnie said in their submission.
In November last year, Mama Ida and Lwan were given an opportunity by the High Court to settle the matter out of court. The court also issued orders to have the paternity of the twins determined through a DNA test.