Before she died on Thursday, January 25, Yvonne Wamalwa – the widow of the late Kenyan Vice President Michael Kijana Wamalwa- was fighting over the future of the expansive Kitale Farm.
Although she had initially been issued with letters of administration of the estate, the late Yvonne was accused by relatives of running down the farm and failing to account for the income from it. She spent her time fighting land cases.
Before the late Vice President died, he used to continue with the long tradition of producing maize on this farm – previously owned by Senator Wamalwa – and which was once a showcase of best agricultural practices in the region.
But on 7th April 2015 the High court gave orders directing the Public Trustee to take over and manage the estate of the late Wamalwa who died intestate on 23rd August 2003.
“This was because the respondent Yvonne Nambia Wamalwa had failed to provide a statement giving full account of money received by her on account of the estate. She was also wasting and sharing out the estate when there was no full grant,” said the court’s order.
Wamalwa’s widow was later sued by Alice Muthoni Wamalwa, a daughter of the deceased and later a co-administrator of the estate in an application dated 25th March 2017. Ms Muthoni had complained that Yvonne had failed to account for the income and that she had instead transferred LR No. 10125/5 and LR 10125/6 belonging to the estate into her names and was seeking to sell them. Further, the court was told that Yvonee had taken a loan of Kshs.10,000,000/= from Equity Bank without the consent of the beneficiaries of the estate.
The court agreed that Yvonne was continuing to “alienate and waste the estate” of the deceased to the disadvantage of the other beneficiaries.
The Judge said: “The estate cries for preservation. This is the reason why I grant an order against the respondent, her servants and agents restraining the sale, lease or any other form of alienation of parcels LR No. 10125/5 and 10125/6 until the estate of the deceased has been finally distributed, or until any further orders. The order shall be registered against the two titles at the lands office, Nairobi.”
Before the issue of land came to the fore, Yvonne had been accused of failing to account for Sh3.4 million that was in their father’s briefcase at the time of his death and Sh36.7 million released by Parliament as his pension.
When Wamalwa died in 2003 while undergoing treatment at Royal Free Hospital in London, Yvonne is alleged to have left an estate comprising 40 acres of land in Trans Nzoia that was valued at Sh4 million per acre, five acres of land in Milimani, Kitale and maize that was under cultivation on 300 acres in Kitale.
At the time of his death, Wamalwa also owned a Mercedes Benz 300S and a Range Rover and had an account with Standard Chartered Bank, 20 head of cattle in Kitale and a death gratuity and pension under the Parliamentary Pensions Act.
The accountability issue came up after Alice, Wamalwa’s eldest daughter, moved to court on the grounds that Yvonne had sidelined her in the management of the estate and had failed to release money she held in trust for William Samuel and William Wamalwa Jr. Alice, who along with Yvonne had been given a limited grant to manage the estate in 2005, told the court that the two children are unable to continue with their studies because Yvonne had failed to release their school fees.
Her death will complicate matters for this multi-million property.
After her husband’s death, Yvonne was appointed to diplomatic positions before she was finally edged out. At first, and in honour of the late Vice Presifdent, President Kibaki appointed Yvonne the Deputy Permanent Representative of Kenya to the United Nations Habitat offices in Nairobi. After three years there, she was appointed to Australia as the Deputy High Commissioner.
She died in a Nyeri Hospital.