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Michuki Daughter Legal Bills Dispute Rages on as Law Firm Claims Sh368 Million



Former Internal Security Minister John Michuki

Agimba & Associates Advocates, the law firm that represented the lastborn daughter of former Internal Security Minister John Michuki, has challenged the dismissal of one of its legal bills, even as it emerges that the lawyers are seeking a total of Sh368 million from Ms Yvonne Wanja Michuki.

Agimba & Associates argues that it is entitled to Sh184 million in each of the Michuki parents’ succession cases, and has asked the High Court deputy registrar to allow its pursuit of the money.

In 2018, Ms Wanja appointed the law firm to challenge the appointment of her siblings Ann Mutahi and Fred Chege as administrators of the estates of Mr Michuki and his wife Josephine Watiri.

One year later, Ms Wanja switched representation to W G Wambugu & Company Advocates, meaning she needed to clear the legal bills accumulated at Agimba & Associates Advocates.

There were succession cases filed in court for each of the Michuki parents, and Ms Wanja had filed an application in both files.

The Nation has now established that Agimba & Associates Advocates is seeking Sh368 million for representing Ms Wanja in the two succession causes.

On July 30, 2021, High Court Deputy Registrar Wandia Nyamu dismissed an application by Agimba & Associates, seeking Sh184 million in legal bills for representing Ms Wanja in her mother’s succession cause.

Succession cases

The deputy registrar’s ruling followed a claim by Ms Wanja that she had an agreement with the law firm on payment, which she insisted she had already paid.

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But the firm has now asked Ms Nyamu to review her ruling, arguing that the deputy registrar did not consider the law firm’s submissions, which had information that could have changed the outcome of the dispute.

The law firm says in its written arguments that there was no contract on payment between it and Ms Wanja, which means that the deputy registrar should have proceeded to analyse the Sh184 million claimed in the succession of Mrs Michuki.

In Kenyan legal practice, if an advocate and client do not have a contract on payment of legal bills, the court’s deputy registrar is tasked with determining how much should be paid after listening to arguments from both parties.

Agimba & Associates Advocates filed its bill of costs with the deputy registrar in December 2019 claiming Sh184 million for each of the two succession cases.

Ms Wanja objected to the bill on May 18, 2021 claiming that she had a contract with the law firm.

In her ruling, the deputy registrar said that Agimba & Associates Advocates did not file a response to Ms Wanja’s objection to the Sh184 million bill for the Michuki family matriarch’s succession case.

But Agimba & Associates Advocates now says it filed a response in April 2021, detailing the history of its relationship with Ms Wanja, and clarifying that there was no contract on payment with its former client.

The law firm adds that Ms Wanja’s lawyers did not attach a copy of the agreement the Michuki lastborn claims to have entered into with the firm on payment, despite the requirement to prove any allegations in court.

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“The deposit request note was clearly marked as such and was indicated as a non-taxable invoice. It was made clear to Ms Wanja that the ultimate fees to be charged would be on an agreement, considering the value of the subject matter and the complexity of the work to be undertaken.

Never did Agimba & Associates Advocates and Ms Wanja enter into an agreement with regard to fees owing and due to the former,” the law firm says in its court papers.

It further states in its court papers that “the task at hand was complex and required skill and prescience in addressing”.

The Nation has established that the deputy registrar will hear the payment dispute involving the Michuki estate in October.

Michuki’s Sh30 billion estate

Mr Michuki died on February 12, 2012 of a heart attack. His wife died on August 22, the same year.

The former Internal Security minister’s disciplinarian approach to governance made it difficult for most to believe that there would be a battle for control over the Sh30 billion estate he and his wife left behind.

For six years, the Michuki family seemed to resolve their differences silently as not many knew that trouble was bubbling under, until Ms Wanja moved to court, seeking division of the Sh30 billion estate equally among all siblings.

In 2018 Ms Wanja challenged the appointment of her two siblings as administrators of the Michuki estate and made allegations of mismanagement, fraud and embezzlement in the operations of the Windsor Golf Hotel & Country Club.

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Should Ms Wanja’s applications succeed, each of the Michuki children will be entitled to a Sh5 billion stake in the estates of their parents.

But the dwindling fortunes of the Windsor Golf Hotel & Country Club over the years, coupled with the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on the hospitality industry, could have significantly watered down the value of the Michuki family wealth.

Read the original article on Nation.

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