Karume children fight in court for upkeep millions

The children of late Kiambu politician Njenga Karume have moved to court demanding over Sh41.5 million for upkeep from a trust their father formed to keep his businesses alive.

Mr Karume’s children want their father’s trust ordered to pay them the amount to cater for school fees, medical insurance and monthly allowances for beneficiaries of the former politician’s vast wealth. The children also want the trust dissolved for allegedly failing to meet their needs.

The vicious legal battle has seen the children accuse managers of the Njenga Karume Trust of mismanaging the late politician’s multi-billion shilling business empire. The managers, however, hold that the children’s ouster bid is a ploy to forcibly take over their father’s wealth.

The trustees say the issues in the new application were already determined in a September ruling. The children also want the court to enjoin 24 companies owned by Mr Karume in the suit, a move the managers say is aimed at complicating the case further.

“What the children want is a declaration that the Njenga Karume Trust has failed as per the will of their father and that all the properties of the trust be reverted to the beneficiaries in equal shares,” said lawyer Gichuki King’ara, representing Lucy, Albert, Samuel and Jane Karume.

Mr Karume’s heirs want the trust managers compelled to pay Sh12 million in school fees for one of the former politician’s grandchildren studying in the United Kingdom. Michelle Wariara, Mr Karume’s granddaughter, has demanded Sh10 million as reimbursement for school fees. Albert, Samuel, Jane, Lucy and Teresiah have demanded over Sh22.8 million in monthly upkeep arrears.

But the trust managers yesterday fired back by asking the court to strike out the new bid for their ouster, arguing that the issues raised in it were addressed by Justice Alfred Mabeya in a September ruling.

“It appears quite bvious that the sole intention for seeking to enjoin 24 new parties, each of which is entitled to appoint its own aocate is to introduce feigned complexity and thereby derail the hearing of the suit,” says Ngugi Wairegi, the Karume Trust chairman.

The children have also asked the court to allow them to open and run four businesses that have been closed for renovation—Vilage Inn (Kiambu), Cianda Dairy, Jacaranda Curio Shop and Jacaranda Business Centre.

They want the court to stop the trust from collecting rent from the late Karume’s businesses, and instead channel the funds to lawyers’ accounts.

Mr Wairegi, however, says the court cannot issue such an order as it would be tantamount to determining the case in the children’s favour before it gets to the main hearing.

“It is clear from the application that its sole purpose is to effectively, albeit through a side wind remove the trustees and apportion themselves the role of running the trust at an interlocutory stage,” Mr Wairegi says.