The Star (Nairobi)

28 July 2014

Kenya: Woman Sues Billionaire Ngugi for Sh9 Million Upkeep

A woman has sued tycoon Pius Ngugi for Sh9.6 million annual maintenance. Lynette Buddery says she gave birth to Ngugi's daughter in 2001, but he has abandoned her.

"Ngugi is one of the wealthiest men in the country, owning various business enterprises and properties in and around the city. He is capable of catering for the needs of our daughter but he has refused," says Buddery in a sworn affidavit filed in court.

"He has intentionally and willfully neglected and, or, refused to provide for his biological child, putting her life at risk as she is not able to go to a good school, have enough food and seek medical treatment."

The case came up for hearing last Thursday but was postponed to September 4. However, Ngugi has rejected the demands accusing the woman of using the child to extort from him.

"I do not have any income or resources that would enable me to pay the grossly exaggerated annual sum of Sh9.6 million for the maintenance of the child," Ngugi says in his affidavit filed in court.

"At any chance the mother is not entitled to demand an affluent standard of living for the child, who is like any other. "The wealth of the a parent is not a justifiable issue in a suit for the maintenance of a child, rather the best interest and justifiable needs of a minor are the test to be applied.

"The use of the child in pursuit of financial and or material gain is an improper motive and purpose that is not sanctioned by law. It is a violation of the minor's right rights under Article 53 of the constitution and the provisions of the Children's Act."

This is not the first time a woman has sued Ngugi. Ngugi, the wealthy owner of Thika Coffee Mills and Kenya Nut Company (which controls 10 per cent of the world nut market) was sued by politician and businesswoman Esther Passaris in 2003.

Passaris demanded Sh200,000 and a good car to ferry their children to and from school. The two had lived together in Springs Valley in the 1990s. Buddery says Ngugi married her in 1990 under customary law and she gave birth to the baby girl in 2001.

"Every child has a constitutional right to access basic needs. The duty of parents to provide for a child exists, whether the parents are married, living together, divorced or separated," she says.

"Ngugi is a serial womaniser and he sired many children from other women. It is therefore in the best interest of the child that a Trust Fund be put in place to cater for the future interests of the child." But Ngugi has denied all the charges levelled against him and demanded that the suit be dismissed.

"The prayer for the monthly remittance of Sh805,000 to the mother has no relation to the needs of the minor but is an attempt by the plaintiff to obtain unjust enrichment and amounts to an unlawful attempt to abuse a minor for the plaintiff's unjustified material and financial gain. Ngugi says he is not responsible for Buddery's daily upkeep.

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