A move by retired president Daniel arap Moi to patent the name Kabarak has ignited a bitter war pitting his sons and daughters against his favourite son, Gideon, whom they accuse of plotting to grab their share of the wealth.
So bad is the war that Gideon who is the Baringo senator has instructed General Service Unit officers guarding all Moi’s residences to block his brothers and sisters from meeting the former president fearing they will pressurize the 95-year-old man to write a will, which will scuttle his plot of inheriting nearly all the wealth in the former head of state’s hands.
A kin of the former president, who spoke to us on condition of anonymity, laid bare the intricate scheme by Gideon to dispossess them their rightful share of their father’s wealth, estimated to be over Sh300 billion.
The kin, while expressing fears that the matter might land in court, pointed out that Gideon has been blocking them from meeting their father on the “silly argument” that Mzee is sick and should not be pressurised to do anything, including writing a will.
The kin said they fear the Baringo senator could have forged a power of attorney to transfer the family’s lucrative businesses to himself, noting that while his other family members are disposing off their properties to make ends meet, the senator has been in a business expansion spree, raising eyebrows on the sources of his money.
Recently, the Baringo senator sold a parcel of land in Lavington, Nairobi to a private developer who has put up apartments. The said land, which was registered in the name of the former president, was mysteriously transferred to Gideon.
According the source, among those facing financial difficulties is Phillip, who was recently spotted in Trans Nzoia county, trying to sell off a piece of land at throwaway price to make ends meet.
The source further gave a detailed account of the boardroom coups the senator has executed in most of their father’s businesses, where he is planting his cronies to head them in readiness for his takeover bid.
The source revealed that they are opposed to the plan by Gideon to contest the presidency in 2022, fearing that he will not only waste their inheritance funding his campaign, but if he wins, he will execute his plot of disiheriting them their rightful share of the wealth.
The source even went to an extent of urging Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila Odinga to rethink their strategy of backing Gideon for the presidency or any other powerful post, arguing that if he has the courage to loot the family’s coffers, then he will do worse things to state coffers.
In November last year, the war exploded after the Kenya Industrial Property Institute issued a trademark to the former president for the name Kabarak following an application by his lawyer Tom Ojienda.
A trademark is a distinctive sign used by a business identity to identify its goods or services and to distinguish them from those produced or provided by others.
Registration of a trademark protects the trademark owner against misuse, imitation or dilution through use in unrelated goods or services.
Kabarak, which in Kalenjin means high or elevated, is in Rongai constituency in Nakuru. The area MP is Raymond Moi, the former president’s son.
The former president owns Kabarak High School, Kabarak University and farms in the region.
According to sources, Moi’s siblings suspect the idea to patent the name Kabarak was hatched by Gideon to pave way for the grabbing of all the family’s businesses bearing the trademark.
The properties, the scion of Kenya’s second president targets include Kabarak University, which in 2017 conferred him with the award of honourary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters (Honoris Causa) in recognition of what it said was his exemplary contributions to the promotion of peace, reconciliation and integration and wellbeing of the less fortunate people of Kenya.
Among the Moi siblings, only Raymond sits on the Kabarak University board chaired by West Pokot governor John Lonyangapuo.
Raymond, according to sources, is in Gideon’s camp but to his credit has been trying to unite the family.
The senior Moi, who married Lena in 1950 but separated in 1974 before his presidency has eight children, five sons and three daughters, They are Jonathan (deceased), Raymond, Phillip, Jennifer, Doris, John Mark, June and Gideon.
The eldest son is Jonathan, who died early this year. Jonathan was a former rally driver who participated fully in many rally tournaments such as Caltex Equator Rally held in Nairobi before maintaining a low profile.
He succumbed to cancer at Mediheal Hospital in Nakuru. Why the family failed to take him abroad for specialised treatment is anyone’s guess with sources saying before his death, he had fallen out with Gideon over the family’s wealth.
The former Safari rally driver was also close to his mother, Lena, who died of neglect in 2004. Media reports indicated the house Lena was living in was leaking.
Indeed, Jonathan’s fortunes followed those of his mother Lena: forgotten, cowed and, by middle-class standards, living in penury.
Before his death, Jonathan had taken Gideon headon over the running of the multibillion empire that Moi built by looting state coffers during his 23-year presidency.
He was also bitter that Lena was treated so badly that she was never seen at the weddings of her own children.
Indeed, Jonathan built his home in Kabimoi — close to his mother — and was the occasional visitor. His home in Ravine is neither stately nor with any semblance of opulence. The driveway is dusty while the bungalow has seen better days.
His mother was only known at her Kabimoi village where she lived a rural-woman’s life; and at times with no means of transport.
The first cracks in Moi family emerged after the death of Lena over her burial site.
According to sources, Gideon had convinced his father, who had gone to visit Lena a few days before her death and had David Silverstein treat her heart condition, to bury her in Sacho, an abandoned Moi homestead where nobody lived.
But it took the intervention of William Bomett, Lena’s eldest brother, to oppose the move, daring Moi that if Lena was not buried in Kabarak, he would bury her in Ravine — where she lived all her life.
During the preparations of Lena’s burial, a row erupted between Gideon and Jonathan. Gideon, according to sources, had tried to address one of the meetings as the family spokesman but Jonathan shot up and pointed at him.
“Simply because our father transferred most of his properties to you doesn’t entitle you to become our spokesman,” Jonathan told Gideon.
Moi had at the tail-end of his presidency started distributing his properties and leaving others in trusts as one way of cushioning him from a possible raid by any incoming government but it seems the major beneficiary is Gideon.
According to sources, Moi’s second son, Raymond, the MP for Rongai constituency in Nakuru, is neutral in the ongoing feuds.
For John Mark, the twin brother of Doris Moi and a geologist, he is bitter with Gideon for scheming to grab their share of the wealth.
It is the same case with Jennifer Jemutai Kositany, a businesswoman. Jennifer — who leads a private life and stays with her father in Kabarak or Kabarnet Gardens in Nairobi ever since her husband Stephen Kositany died in a road accident in 1994, has taken comfort in drinking beer.
Her dalliance with windbag Jacob Juma exposed the kind of life she lives after her father left power and the frustrations she faces.
For June, who was adopted by the former president, she is bitter with Gideon over his scheme to defraud them.
It is the same case with Doris, the twin sister of Mark, who has never been in good books with her father for marrying against his approval, the son of Moi-era politician Ibrahim Choge Simon.
Choge who worked as her brother’s Jonathan’s rally navigator, died in 1998 in a mysterious road accident.
Next is Phillip, who is also said to have fallen out with Gideon over the family’s wealth.
Insiders add that initially, Moi had placed his wealth in the hands of renowned lawyer Kenneth Kiplagat.
Indeed, in the Kanu days, Kiplagat’s name was synonymous with big deals and was among a small clique of lawyers who made a breakthrough in the 1990s when Moi ruled.
But Kiplagat fell out with Gideon in 2004 and they even had a physical confrontation at the Fairview Hotel when the latter allegedly demanded the return of some family assets.
During the confrontation, hotel guests looked on in astonishment as the two threw punches at each other by a poolside banda.
One punch sent Gideon sprawling into a flowerbed before security staff and his bodyguards intervened.
A further sign of their strained relationship came in 2005 when the Kroll Report commissioned by the Mwai Kibaki government stated, “Dr Kiplagat has shown a clear indication of his intentions to make revelations surrounding Gideon Moi”.
According to sources, Gideon suspects Kiplagat grabbed some of his father’s properties and is out to get them back at whatever cost.
There are rumours that Gideon bankrolled Kiplagat’s estranged wife, Catherine Jelugat Kiplagat, to file for divorce and demand half of his property in 2011.
In her court papers, Jelugat claimed that Kiplagat was using his legal expertise to hide his assets from her but that she believed he was worth an estimated Sh200 billion.
In her affidavit, she claims that when he was a director at the Communications Commission of Kenya, he allocated his company Toads Media 10 frequencies which he subsequently sold for Sh400 million.
Jelugat also claimed in her court papers that Kiplagat had multiple bank accounts holding variously Sh600 million, Sh2 billion, Sh1 billion, and Sh87 million from the sale of Simba Radio to KTN.
Her court papers also alleged that he had interests in Tetra Radio, Toads Media Group, Bond Conservancy, Southern Cross Engineering, and Naivasha Cottages.
She also claimed that he owned substantial property including two houses in Great Rift Valley Lodge in Naivasha, 40 acres of land in Kabarak, 100 acres in Kabarak Menengai West, a house in Eldoret near State House, 50 acres in Eldoret, a house in Milimani Nakuru, a villa in Vipingo Ridge in Kilifi, and a house in the expensive residential neighbourhood of Kensington in London.
According to sources, Gideon suspects that all these properties belonged to Moi and he is ready to go to any length to recover them but is not willing to share them with his siblings.
According to sources, Gideon has already grabbed more than 20 companies belonging to the family and now controls entities such as Maritime, Sielei Properties Ltd, Kentship, Revak Ltd, Forex Bureu, Giant Holdings, Sudbury Ltd, Westfield International, Metipso Services Ltd, Chemusian Company, Homestead Enterprises, Car Track Kenya Ltd and Fresh Produce Ltd. Other family members are said to be in the dark over the running of these entities.
The source further said Gideon has been fronting his wife, Zahra, to stage boardroom coups in some of the companies some of which they are registering in the names of their three children, Lulu, Kigen and Kimoi.
The Baringo senator, sources add, started transferring his father’s properties to himself since 2000.
It is to be recalled that the Kroll Report commissioned by Kibaki in 2004 opened the lid on the Gideon’s business activities where he was listed as the owner of Giro Bank held under Asian nominee businessmen; Taurino Enterprises, Trans-National Bank, Hampstead Enterprises, Maternity Shop, Eagle Airlines, First American Bank, Equatorial Bank, The Sasine Group of farms, Cable Wireless, Duty Free Company, Eveready Company, Tobacco Farm in Malawi‚ Chester House and Safaricom, among others.
But according to sources, most of these companies were owned by Moi before Gideon transferred them to himself.
Further, the source pointed out that only Gideon’s children live in opulence while in contrast the other children of the family members live modest life.
For instance, Gideon’s son, Kigen, an undergraduate student at the prestigious University of Bristol, is a lover of life and uses his connections and wealth to enjoy the fine things in life, which is a pointer of the wealth his swims in.
Like his father, Kigen has a special liking for the exclusive game of polo – a sport which his dad had dominated as a star player over the years before his weight started breaking horses’ backs.
In contrast, the children of the other family members are rarely seen displaying wealth.
For instance, a girlfriend of Jonathan son, Collins, was at one time detained for over a week at a high-end hotel in Kitale for failing to clear a bill after they were booked in for days at the facility.
Collins is said to have sneaked out of the hotel after failing to raise Sh100,000 bill.
The sources further said Moi siblings suspect Gideon pockets the allowances the former head of state is paid by the state.
They added that it is just a matter of days before some of the siblings head to court to demand the distribution of their father’s assets before his death.
Those bitter with the senator are reaching out to Kiplagat as well as former Moi’s aide, Joshua Kulei, to give them a list of the properties Moi owns. Kulei, who has fallen out with Gideon, is said to be ready to spill the beans just like Kiplagat.
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