Court orders woman to share 30pc wealth with estranged lover

A Nairobi businessman who was kicked out by a woman he had cohabited with for 25 years, will finally enjoy the 30 per cent of the wealth they created.

The man known as POM to protect his identity will not only collect rent from 11 out of the 38 commercial and residential units comprising one and two-bedroom units and shops but will also benefit from the rent collected from the premises from the time he was kicked out in 2011.

High Court Judge Hillary Chemitei ordered compliance with a Supreme Court ruling that gave the man a 30 per cent share of the wealth.

“I do not think that what the POM is asking is out of his 30 per cent right in the suit property. He should be allowed to enjoy the same,” the judge said in his ruling.

The dispute stems from a case on division of the wealth, which was contested up to the Supreme Court.

The apex court which hit the last nail on this dispute had declared that there was no marriage between the two parties but still held that the man was entitled to 30 per cent and the woman 70 percent of the wealth after finding they both had a legal interest.

Read: Kenyan men: This is why we don’t jointly own property with our wives

The man had instituted the case against the woman whom he claimed to be his wife.

He argued that they began cohabiting as husband and wife in 1986 and that from joint savings, they purchased a property that later became the bone of contention after he was kicked out.

The man explained that the property was registered in the woman’s name because its owner was not comfortable selling to him since he was not from the seller’s tribe.

Matrimonial home

“The property was registered in the woman’s name although we had both contributed to its acquisition,” he said, adding that they took possession of the property between 1992 and 1993.

They, thereafter, developed and constructed rooms thereon, one of which they used as their matrimonial home, and rented out the others.

He claimed to have done all the legwork relating to the connection of electricity, sewerage, and water to the premises and operated a bar from the premises.

He, however, lamented that the woman evicted him despite his contribution towards the acquisition and development of the property. At the time, he said, the rentals fetched Sh258,100 per month.

She rejected the man’s claims and denied his involvement in the purchase of the suit property.

“I allowed him to manage the property because we were friends,” she said.

According to her, she was already married under customary law to one KM, now deceased, and although they were separated, she never divorced him.

She stated that she could not enter into another marriage while her first marriage was still subsisting.

She also claimed that after KM died in 2011, the man intensified harassment to coerce her into marriage, prompting her to file a civil suit to restrain the man from trespassing on her properties.

The High Court dismissed the man’s case after finding that although there was long cohabitation between the parties, the principle of presumption of marriage was inapplicable since the woman was already married to KM.

Read: Men to inherit wives’ property in proposed law

The High Court held that the woman could not marry the man, noting that the relationship between them was adulterous, resulting in cohabitation which could not be deemed a marriage.

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