18 July 2014

Kenya: Naivas Director Disowns Brother's Claim in Store

Naivas supermarkets chairman has told the High Court that the retail chain is a limited liability company and not a family business as claimed by his elder brother.

While testifying during the hearing of a succession case, Simon Gashwe told Judge Anyara Emukule that Newton Kagira who has objected to his administration of their late father's estate wanted to "harvest where he has never planted."

Gashwe maintained that Naivas remains a limited company in which some of his family members had bought shares into.

The court was told that Kagira had led an irresponsible lifestyle despite his two brothers who are co-directors of Naivas trying to assist him.

"He was selling chang'aa in Kitale when we called him and I asked him to become my assistant at Rongai Self Service Stores which is how we started our business," Gashwe said.

He added that they brought in Kagira as an employee and not as a shareholder.

Kagira has however denied this and instead claims that the Naivas chain was started after their father advised him and his siblings to contribute money to start a business after which he and his two brothers and two sisters contributed.

Kagira is the eldest son of the late Peter Mukuha Kago and is objecting to Gashwe's administration of their father's estate on grounds that his siblings plan to disinherit him.

He has accused his younger brother Gashwe of obtaining a letter of administration over the estate through fraudulent means by forging his signature and that of his two sisters.

The legal tussle surrounding the family and their late father's estate has been in court since November 2012.

Assistant registrar of companies Francis Kiagu in his evidence said Naivas was initially registered as Naivasha Self Service Stores in 1998 with Gashwe and his younger brother David Kimani listed as the directors and shareholders on a 50-50 basis.

In 2007, the company made a special resolution to change its name to Naivas and also brought in new shareholders in the name of their father Peter Mukuha and sisters Linet Wairimu and Grace Wambui.

Kiagu told the court that Gashwe and Kimani each held 12,500 shares, while their father held 10,000 shares. The two sisters each hold 7,500 shares.

However, Kagira told the court that the family had entrusted Gashwe and Kimani to run their shops as the two had retail experience. He accuses them of going behind the family's backs to register the company in their names only and later when they realized the folly of their ways awarded a few shares to some family members leaving others like him out.

Hearing of the case continues.


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