A man’s bid to have a stake in his dead sister’s estate on account of having paid her medical bills has been thwarted by the High Court in Murang’a.
Mr Julius Kiruma failed to prove his claim to the court for half of his sister’s piece of land on grounds of the money he spent to settle her hospital bills.
He told the High Court that he contributed Sh214,000 towards the medical needs and upkeep for Hannah Wanjiru.
Mr Kiruma even produced a list of the expenditure.
The court was told that Mr Kiruma also built a house for his sister and that the expenses were converted to two acres.
Mr Kiruma said he bought the four-acres jointly with his brother Mwangi Ruhohi and “I am therefore entitled to half the share”.
His claim was backed by two of Wanjiru’s children – Gladys Waigumo and Mary Wanjiku – who said there was an agreement to the effect that their uncle’s expenditure would be returned with half of the land in question.
Ms Wanjiku said Wanjiru had called all her children and informed them about it.
To protect his interests, Mr Kiruma placed a restriction against the land in October 2016 because he also wanted to be an administrator of his sister’s estate.
However, a lawyer advised that one of Wanjiru’s daughters named Esther Wangari be instead appointed the administrator.
Ms Wangari filed the case seeking the removal of the restriction by her uncle against developing or transferring the land.
She told the court that the restriction had no legal grounds and that the land had been sold to Mr Ruhohi by her mother.
The restriction by Mr Kiruma prevented the transfer of the property to Mr Ruhohi.
Ms Wangari said she had instructions from her mother to effect the transfer of the land to Mr Ruhohi because he had paid for it fully.
On seeking to obtain the consent of the Land Control Board to transfer the ownership of the plot, the process was halted because of the restriction, Ms Wangari said.
She admitted that Mr Ruhohi and Mr Kiruma are her uncles, but added that the latter should not have any interest in the land because Wangari had refunded his Sh400,000 before her death.
The court dismissed Mr Kiruma’s claim, saying there was no contract between him and Wangari on settling the medical bills.
“The defendant has not shown any evidence of a written contract as provided in law to support his claim of buying half the share of the land. He did not file any counterclaim in furtherance of his defence that he is a purchaser. His claim is unsupported,” the court said.
The law provides that the Lands Registrar can place a restriction against a plot in order to prevent fraud, improper dealings or for any other sufficient cause.
The registrar may place the restriction either with or without the application of any person interested in the land, lease or charge.
According to Section 76 of the Act, the restriction may be expressed to endure for a particular period of time, until the occurrence of a specific event or when another directive is made.
The registrar may prohibit or restrict all dealings or those that do not comply with specified conditions, and the restriction should be registered in the appropriate roll.
In the Murang’a family case, the High Court ruled that the restriction was unjustified as Mr Kiruma failed to prove his claim on his sister’s four-acre piece of land.
The High Court ordered the Lands Registrar to have it removed immediately.