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SK Macharia loses Sh1.2bn estate row with grandson

City billionaire and media mogul SK Macharia.

Media mogul Samuel Kamau (SK) Macharia has temporarily lost control of his late son’s Sh1.2 billion estate that is the subject of an inheritance fight.

High Court judge Stella Mutuku revoked letters granted to the media mogul in 2019 to administer the estate of his late son, John Gichia.

Mr Macharia’s grandson, Adam Kamau Macharia, moved to court in May last year seeking to stop his grandfather from administering the Sh1.2 billion estate.

Adam told the court that he was a minor at the time the letters of administration were issued to his grandparents and that he was seeking a piece of his father’s wealth now he he’s an adult.

“The circumstances dictate that this court relooks the issues of representation in this estate afresh and make appropriate orders after hearing the parties. It is also clear to me that as at the time the two grants were issued, the sole beneficiary was a minor,” Justice Mutuku said.

The suit also pointed to a rift in the family over the Sh1.2 billion estate after Gichia’s mother, Serah Njeri, withdrew from the application to administer the estate ‘for the sake of family’ unity and because her grandson was now over 18 years.

The estate had been put under their administration as grandparents of Gichia’s son, Adam, who was 16 years when Mr Gichia died in a road accident in 2018.

The estate comprise shares in more than six companies that have investments in insurance, communications and real estate.

The companies are listed as Directline Insurance, Serenity Media Productions Ltd, Big Five Conservancy, Bushfire Media Distributors, Toi Redevelopment and Harbour Capital Ltd.

Other properties are nine vehicles – two Range Rover cars, Land Rover, Jaguar, Jeep, Porsche 911, BMW, Trailer and Land Rover Discovery — four motorbikes and five residential houses in Nanyuki, Loresho (Nairobi), Kyuna crescent (Nairobi), Kibarage (Nairobi) and Mugumo crescent (Nairobi).

Adam resides in the Loresho house.

The registered owner of the properties is AKM Investments Ltd. Adam says the name of the company, AKM investments, was borrowed from initials of his name Adam Kamau Macharia.

Court papers indicate that at the time of his death, Gichia was the executive director of Directline Assurance Company and Adam occasionally worked there during school holidays.

Adam says he is aware Directline has 15 million shares distributed amongst 10 shareholders.

They include Janus Ltd, Sureinvest Company and Stenny Investments PTY Ltd holding three million shares each, calculated to be 20 percent each.

Other shareholders are Triad Networks (2,999,407 shares), AKM Investment (1,551,000), Royal Media Services (1,448,593) and Royal Credit Card (997).

Dan Karobia, Purity Gathoni Macharia and Samuel Kamau Macharia hold one share each translating to 0.0 per cent of the shares.

Adam says his father was the majority shareholder in Directline with over 70 percent of the shares.

Directline in May last year wanted Adam and his mother, Lisa Anyango Amenya, to hand over eight cars they claim were purchased using company funds but registered in the name of the company when the deceased was the executive director.

It also demanded the transfer of the Loresho house and other assets within 30 days.

In his opposition to appointment of his grandfather as administrator of the estate, Adam says that the tycoon was not a dependent of the estate and he (Mr Macharia) is a financially stable man.

Adam describes himself as the only son and sole beneficiary of the estate.

However, Mr Macharia told the court that Adam had made mistakes, including acting on incompetent advice.

“He is being used by my opponents in litigation (reference was made to other disputes pending in other courts). Adam is acting on mistaken belief that his late father, had proprietary interests in the assets of Directline Assurance Company Ltd in which his company AKM Investment Ltd was a shareholder,” said Mr Macharia.

Justice Mutuku also revoked another grant for March 11, 2019 issued to Mr Macharia alone.

The businessman had asked the court to revoke this grant and order investigations as to how it was obtained.

The questionable grant was purported to have been signed by Justice Aggrey Muchelule who stopped handling the matter in December 20, 2019.

The revocation of the two grants also followed applications by Ms Amenya and Mr Macharia’s children–David Karanja Macharia and Stella Nyanjiru Macharia.

Adam has a separate petition seeking to take full control of the estate since he has attained the adult age.

While revoking the grant of letters of the estate’s administration issued to Mr Macharia and Ms Njeri, the judge said the court approval ought not to have been issued.

Justice Mutuku declined to determine allegations raised by Adam that his grandfather lacked capacity to seek the grant because of bankruptcy.

The judge noted that the issue relating to Mr Macharia’s bankruptcy was alive in other courts.

“To avoid the situation where this estate is left without representation, this court allows parties to move with haste within 30 days and propose an administrator pending the hearing and determination of the pending applications,” directed Justice Mutuku. – businessdailyafrica.com

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