Kenyan widow contests Will rewriten a month before husband’s death in Zambia

A Kenyan woman has moved to the High Court in Zambia to contest a Will allegedly written by her husband about a month before his death, when he was terminally ill.

Dr Rael Lubasi has in documents filed before the High Court in Lusaka, questioned the validity of the Will allegedly written by Mr Shadreck Mundia Lubasi on May 24, 2023.

He died on June 23 last year in Zambia while undergoing treatment. Mr Lubasi was the first managing director of ZEP-RE-PTA Reinsurance Company from 1992 to 2007.

He was also the District Apostle for East Africa, New Apostolic Church from 2008 to 2015. Dr Lubasi revealed that she discovered that the executors had obtained Letters of Administration from the High Court in Lusaka on July 11, 2023.

She is pursuing her interest and that of her son, a minor in the estate. Dr Lubasi said in the documents that following her husband’s death, the executors of the Will displayed unwarranted bias and hostility towards her and her son. She had to access her late husband in hospital through the intervention of the New Apostolic church Zambia, and management of CfB Medical Centre.

“As such, I verily believe that this disregard for our involvement not only demonstrates their bias but also raises concerns about the fairness and transparency of the administration of my late husband’s estate,” she said.

Dr Lubasi has named Sharon Limpo Lubasi Katundu and Frank Katundu, who are co-executors of the estate of Mr Lubasi, as respondents in the case.

In the Will, Mr Lubasi allegedly shared most of the properties in Zambia among his two children – born from his first marriage with his wife who passed on, and partly with his son (a minor) in their union with Dr Lubasi.

She revealed that her husband got critically ill last year and was admitted at CfB Medical Centre in Lusaka. Dr Lubasi said she encountered difficulties in visiting him at his Avondale home in Lusaka and at the hospital, as she was not allowed to go near him. She said her husband owned a farm in Lusaka West, an expansive farm in Livingstone, a house in Avondale and a semi-detached house at Ibex Hill, both in Lusaka, a motor vehicle, shares in Pace Insurance Brokers Ltd as well as personal effects in Zambia and Kenya.

“I am firmly convinced that my substantial contributions towards the acquisition and development of the assets mentioned in the purported Will of my late husband, dated 24th May 2023, have not been duly acknowledged,” she said.

Before the succession case is heard, Dr Lubasi wants the court to compel the hospital to produce his medical records, showing Mr Lubasi’s medical history, including any relevant illnesses or conditions, an assessment of his mental capacity and any documented mental health issues, during the period he was under the hospital’s care and information regarding any medication and treatment that he was receiving while under CfB’s care as an in-patient and out-patient.

She believes that a medical report would show a true reflection of his overall condition and cognitive abilities throughout his hospitalization and hospital visits. Other than the contested properties, Dr Lubasi stated that the executors have to date not rendered an account of her late husband’s estate, which includes rental income from his properties in Lusaka, cash in his bank account at Zambia National Commercial Bank at the time of his demise, and contributions made during the funeral.

During one of her trips to Lusaka to take care of her ailing husband, the executors allegedly expressly instructed her not to discuss the issue of his assets in Zambia with him.

“In light of the aforementioned circumstances, I hold reservations regarding the validity of the entire Will,” she said, adding that Mr Lubasi might not have been in his right mental capacity given his medical condition.

“That I did state in my affidavit in support of the said application that I had attempted through my Advocates herein to obtain my late husband’s medical report from CfB Medical centre but that the said request was turned down by the hospital’s management,” she said in an affidavit.

“That I verily believe that the said Medical Report will be of significant use and importance for the determination of my application filed before this court,” she added.

The widow says her late husband was not in his right frame of mind when he allegedly wrote the Will. According to the death certificate, the deceased died from cardiogenic shock leading to heart failure, a consequence of chronic heart failure, dilated cardiomyopathy, and renal impairment. In a letter attached to the proceedings, the executors, through their lawyers, have maintained that Mr Lubasi was of sound mind when he made the Will.

The letter stated that the lawyers and two witnesses were present when the Will was written and that they are ready to testify on the mental state of Mr Lubasi.

Dr Lubasi said despite her significant involvement in the acquisition of the properties, her contribution has been disregarded in the allocation of the assets to her son and her step-children. She said they jointly owned motor vehicles and houses in Kenya.

Mr Lubasi also owned a majority of shares in a company called Pace Insurance Brokers Ltd, in Lusaka. Following his retirement from employment, he moved to Zambia to run Pace Insurance Brokers and took their matrimonial car with him. The couple sold a property they jointly owned in Kenya to purchase some rental properties in Zambia to generate income for their upkeep. In the will, Mr Lubasi appointed his Zambian son to the board of directors of the insurance brokerage firm and the chief executive officer.

The parties are expected to appear before Justice Dah Matandala on July 11, 2024, for the hearing of the application.

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