A bitter feud has erupted in the family of late politician and tycoon John Keen. At the centre of the family differences is the management and sharing of his empire valued at Sh25 billion.
Keen had vast investments, among them real estate, hotels, bank deposits, prime land across Kenya and government bonds. Weekly Citizen could not establish if it is true Keen had property in London and operated offshore accounts. He left behind three wives, 12 children and many out of wedlock. They are all fighting in court to have a share of the estate.
Supreme Court judge Isaac Lenaola, Keen’s wife Rosemary Sanau and their daughter Pamela Soila are now running the vast empire as administrators managing the properties as trustees and executors of the will.
During the petition, Soila factor emerged raising eyebrows in the dispute. In her affidavit in support of the letters of grant petition filed in February 2017, Soila informed the court that she assumed the name Huubers when she got married and confirmed that Pamela Soila Keen named in the said will and Pamela Soila Keen Huubers is one and the same person.
The matter is, however, being refuted by other parties.
Keen’s will reads, “I declare that without prejudice to and withstanding the provisions herein before contained my trustees shall have and enjoy all the powers, authority and discretion conferred upon executors or trustees by law,”.
Currently Weekly Citizen has information, three children want trustees kicked out. The bone of contention being that the trustees who are also the signatories of the bank accounts are unable to account for more Sh700 million.
One of Keen’s sons, Edward, is leading the rebelling camp. They say that the trustees want to sell pieces of land in Karen and Ongata Rongai without informing the other members of the family. He also wants the family to be provided with the audited accounts of Sh700 million and bank statements. The money according to them cannot be traced from the account.
In his will, Keen who valued education allocated his 24,500 shares of J Keen Investments Ltd and 998 of Resson Gardens Ltd to Lenaola and his team to hold in trust and to apply the income for his grandchildren’s education.
To benefit were children of Pamela, Anthony Simel, Soila, Edward Neitamei, Somoire Sam and Bernard Olonana. The will states they were known to him at the time of his death.
To benefit also was his daughter Silole Wangui’s studying in the United Kingdom. The will further states that in such amounts, that the trustees shall consider and deem fit and necessary mainly for purposes of advancing their education to the highest level. Edward in his petition reads mischief in the trustee’s refusal to pay college fees for his son who is studying abroad.
In the will, once the youngest grandchild attains 21 years, the shares of J Keen Investments Ltd should be distributed to his children.
Apart from land, Keen had shares in Safaricom Ltd (659,880), Standard Chartered Bank of Kenya (11,877,840) and Kenya Commercial Bank (53,000,000).
To honour his children and grandchildren, he left the 11,877,840 shares to those unable to pay for their medical expenses and other necessities of life.
He also took care of the welfare of the grandchildren to start a business project after clearing college and attaining the age of 21.
Keen had parcels of land in Kajiado, Kilifi and Nairobi counties worth millions of shillings.
Executors of the will given by High Court judge Rosemary Ougo on April 4 are required to render a just and true account of the estate whenever required by the law.
Keen died at the Aga Khan Hospital on December 25 last year, leaving a valid will dated December 2 2015 that was drawn by Maina Wachira and Company Advocates.
Keen was married to four wives and had over 10 children. In 2015, Keen benefited in a multimillion shilling deal when the National Lands Commission bought 89 acres of his land to give to the Nairobi National Park as compensation for land it had lost in the construction of the Southern bypass.
In 2016, High Court judge Mumbi Ngugi dismissed a case in which Ruby Karimi had sued Keen and the Registrar of Births and Deaths to change her name and recognise Keen as her father.
Karimi relied on an affidavit in which her mother said that Keen had forced himself on her at a hotel in Namanga in 1980.
Justice Ngugi threw the case out citing the fact that Karimi’s mother had neither reported the alleged rape to the police neither had she talked about it to her father or brother whom she lived with.