Kenya

'Widow' of former Equity boss demands fresh paternity test

'Widow' of former Equity boss demands fresh paternity test
  • All the parties, including his widow Beatrice Wanjiku, her four children and three other women — Serah, Esther Njeri and Leah Wanjiku Gichaga — had agreed to conduct tests to confirm the paternity of the children they claimed were sired by the tycoon.

  • Mr Kagema died at 73 on December 26 last year at the Aga Khan University Hospital after what family members described as “a long fight with ill-health”.

A woman claiming to be one of the widows of former Equity Bank CEO John Mwangi Kagema now wants his body exhumed for extraction of fresh samples, as the dispute over the paternity of children he allegedly sired continues in court.

Ms Serah Wanjiru Ngugi, through her lawyer George Kimani, told Justice Lydia Achode that she doubted the credibility of samples taken before Mr Kagema was buried in Ol-Kalou last year, because she was not involved.

FRESH SAMPLES

All the parties, including his widow Beatrice Wanjiku, her four children and three other women — Serah, Esther Njeri and Leah Wanjiku Gichaga — had agreed to conduct tests to confirm the paternity of the children they claimed were sired by the tycoon.

They had come up with a consent to be adopted by the court, only for Serah and Leah to doubt the credibility of the samples. Mr Kimani said his client thought the best way to rest the matter was getting fresh samples after exhuming the body.

“Our application would be for fresh samples to be harvested, with dignity it deserves, and all parties participating. The body is buried somewhere in Ol Kalou,” he said, adding that the Kenya Medical Research Institute (Kemri) should do the tests.

But lawyer Judy Thongori for Beatrice said exhumation was “a difficult path” because there were other easy and faster scientific methods of confirming paternity.

“We are not agreeable to the proposal given in the draft. We are all agreeable that DNA should be done and the five subjects (children in question) be tested. The samples were harvested in the exclusion of the first objector (Serah) despite her pleas to be allowed to take part. We are not sure of the circumstances and how they were harvested,” said Mr Kimani.

COURT BATTLE

Mr Kagema died at 73 on December 26 last year at the Aga Khan University Hospital after what family members described as “a long fight with ill-health”.

He was the founding chief executive officer of Equity Building Society, now known as Equity Bank. He also owned the luxurious Enashipai Resort and Spa in Naivasha.

After his death, Beatrice and sons James Kagema and Daniel Wamahihu filed a suit seeking letters to administer the estate.

But Serah soon moved to court, contesting their plans, arguing that she was deliberately left out. She listed 21 companies, an insurance policy, at least 118 plots of land across the country, a mining company and at least 19 motor vehicles as some of the properties Mr Kagema owned.