Mombasa Cement Company tycoon Hasmukh Kanji Premji Patel has been dragged into a family succession dispute.
The dispute involves the estate of his late brother Arvind Kanji Premji Patel and Moza Abdillahi, who bore two kids with Arvind.
Hasmukh, who was appointed executor of his elder brother Arvind’s will, has been accused by Moza and her two children of being unfair.
Arvind and Hasmukh were said to be co-directors and shareholders in several companies including Corrugated Sheets Limited, Vishnu Holdings Limited, Standard Rolling Mills Limited, Venus Metals Developers Limited, Vishna Investment Limited and Makomani Investments Limited.
They were also directors and shareholders at Mombasa Cement and Tororo Cement in Uganda.
The woman in question and her 20-year-old twins have sued Hasmukh over the share of late Arvind’s multibillion-shilling estate in Kenya and Uganda.
Moza has accused Hasmukh of forging Arvind’s will, saying by the time of his death in 2013, he was not in the right health and state of mind to sign the documents.
According to court papers, Arvind was married in 1986 to his wife Bhanuben Devji Bhimji Patel in accordance with Hindu rituals and they had two children- Suraj Arvind and Yashica Arvind.
However, in 2003, Arvind got into a relationship with Moza, who bore him twins.
Moza was working under Arvind in one of their many companies; Corrugated Sheets Limited.
She first joined Corrugated Sheets Limited’s sister company known as Iron International Limited from July 1990 to October 2002.
Thereafter, she joined Corrugated Sheets from November 2002 until June 2003. It was during this period at Corrugated Sheets that Arvind and Moza got the children together.
Arvind agreed to support the new family.
However, Arvind passed on at Mombasa Hospital on May 1, 2013, aged 52 years after an illness.
Before his death, Arvind had prepared a will and appointed his younger brother Hasmukh as the executor and trustee of his will.
“Subject to the payment of my just debts, funeral and testamentary expenses and death duties, I direct my executor and trustee to purchase a residential property in Mombasa for Moza Abdillahi Mohamed of up to a value of Sh6,000,000 so that she and our two children can live in that property,” the will read.
Arvind also directed that Hasmukh pay a sum of Sh150,000 per month to Moza and increase the monthly payment by 10 per cent every year until the two children attain the age of 18 years.
Hasmukh was also directed to pay Moza and her children a sum of Sh10 million each once the children attain the age of 18 years.
The executor of the will was also directed to pay all medical expenses for Moza and her children until they attain the age of 18.
The children turned 18 years in June 2021.
“I direct that my executor and trustee pay for all educational expenses for the two children from the date of my death and up to degree or diploma level in a local university/ college in Kenya. Moza shall be required to produce invoices and receipts to my executor and trustee for record purposes,” Arvind’s will read.
According to Hasmukh, his brother signed the will in the presence of Dr Subhashchandra Shah (family doctor), close family members and long-time friends on January 19, 2013, a day before Arvind travelled to India for treatment. The will was prepared at their Nyali Home on Coral Drive.
On October 10, 2014, a High Court sitting in Mombasa issued and confirmed a grant of probate to Hasmukh to execute Arvind’s will.
Hasmukh said he presented a copy of the will to Moza on July 6, 2013. However, Moza denied ever seeing a copy of the said Will.
On February 13 this year, Moza moved to court to challenge the validity of the said will, saying that it was forged and that Arvind was not in the right health and state of mind to sign the documents.
In a sworn affidavit before the court, she argues that she was not aware of the will until recently when she and her kids sued Hasmukh for refusing to pay Sh3 million for their education abroad.
Moza further discovered a second will that had been prepared in Uganda, which she said was also not disclosed to them.
“Upon my advocate obtaining and perusal of the records, it emerged that the deceased (Arvind) had transferred all his shares in Tororo Cement Limited to his first-born son Suraj via another will dated January 19, 2013, which had been lodged at the High Court at Kampala and grant of probate obtained on January 2015,” Moza said.
The two wills, one in Mombasa and the one in Uganda were prepared by Mona Ketan Doshi, an advocate of the High Court and a partner at Anjarwalla and Khanna LLP firm.
According to Moza, Arvind and Hasmukh were co-directors and shareholders at Corrugated Sheets Limited, Vishnu Holdings Limited, Mombasa Cement Limited, Kavee Quarries Limited, Standard Rolling Mills Limited, Venus Metals Developers Limited, Sunny Construction Company Limited, Vishna Investment Limited, Makomani Investments Limited and Tororo Cement Limited in Uganda.
She further argued that Arvind was the chairman of the group of companies before his health started to deteriorate in 2012.
However, Hasmukh in his sworn affidavits, said his late brother was not a director or shareholder at Corrugated Sheets Limited, Vishnu Holdings Limited, Standard Rolling Mills Limited, Venus Metals Developers Limited, Vishna Investment Limited and Makomani Investments Limited.
Through his lawyers Samir Inamda and Victoria Okata, Hasmukh argued that the deceased was a director and shareholder at Kavee Quarries Limited (13,834 shares), Mombasa Cement Limited (98,000 shares), Sunny Construction Company Limited (12,000 shares), Venus Metals Developers Limited (400) and Vishna Investment Limited (27,885).
All of Arvind’s shares were transferred to his first son Suraj Arvind Patel.
“It is certainly not true that the deceased was ever chairman of the said group as claimed by Moza who is the first applicant in the suit. At the time of death, my uncle Keshavlal Premji Jetha was still alive and as the eldest member of our family, was the chairman of the said group,” Hasmukh said in his affidavit.
Hasmukh also argued that Moza and her children have received a sum of Sh60,385,560, that is 44,245,117 for upkeep and maintenance, and Sh16,190,444 for medical and school education from him which he said is over and above the allocation provided for in the will.
The monies were disbursed to Moza from October 2012 to January 2023.
He said Moza continued receiving financial support from him since 2013 when his brother died until January 2023 when she received the last instalment of Sh874,847.
He argued that from May 2013 to June 2021 he disbursed Sh31,990,272 for domestic expenses and Sh18,331,340 was disbursed for school fees and medical expenses.
Afterwards, he disbursed Sh16,248,418 for domestic expenditures and Sh2,109,104 for school fees and medical expenditures between July 2021 to January 2023.
According to a report on finance disbursement to Moza, Hasmukh said that the cash disbursements from October 2012 to January 2023 have been charged against monthly maintenance as mentioned in the will and therefore Moza overdrew the account by Sh23,017,443.
The Sh10 million to each of them upon the children attaining 18 years is still due while the school fees and education expenses of Sh13,321,786 have been written off as her benefits.
“Hospital bills totalling Sh2,559,608 includes Sh570,984 amount utilised after the children turned 18 which was not provided for in the will,” Hasmukh said.
The amount designated for procuring a residential property of Sh6 million is yet to be disbursed.
The two children while appearing before the court faulted their uncle for refusing to pay their university education abroad.
The two children applied and secured the opportunity to pursue their university education in the UK which required Sh1.5 million each, which their uncle refused to avail.
During their cross-examination, they argued that their father had intimated to them that he would ensure they attend the best universities of their choice upon completion of their basic education.
The two were enrolled at Aga Khan Academy Mombasa for years one to six between 2010 and 2016. Later they joined Oshwal Academy where they studied until June 2022 when they completed their A-level education and secured admission to universities in the UK.
However, their uncle refused to avail funds insisting that the will stated that they be admitted for a diploma or degree course at a Kenyan university.
“I am prepared nonetheless to pay for the costs of the second and third applicants to be educated in a local university as provided for in the Kenyan will – and nothing more,” Hasmukh said in his defence.
On Tuesday, Mona Doshi, the lawyer who prepared the will, and two private forensic document examiners Emmanuel Kenga and Dennis Ruto (who both previously worked for the DCI) appeared and testified before the court.
Doshi was pressed by Moza’s lawyer Richard Ngari to explain the nondisclosure of the two wills for a period of ten years.
She was also put to task to explain why the original Kenyan will submitted in court was dated, yet the copy presented by the respondent was not dated, and also why the Ugandan will has a reference number yet the Kenyan will did not have a reference number.
Doshi confirmed to the courts that she and her firm were involved in the preparation of the two wills, but she was not present during the signing, adding that she had instructed their client to sign the documents in the presence of a medical doctor.
She refuted forgery allegations on the will.
Moza’s lawyer Ngari also put her to task to explain why the two wills failed to mention the deceased wife Bhanuben Arvind and two children- Suraj Arvind and Yashica Arvind.
The two forensic examiners concurred that the signatures on the wills were consistent after examining the copies of the documents presented to them on February 21, 2023.
However, the two differed on the need to have a second opinion to verify findings with one insisting that they are keen in their procedure and thus have no need for re-examination, while the other insisted on the need to have a second opinion so as not to embarrass the DCI.
The two concurred that the best way to examine a document is to have the original copy.
The matter is coming up again on July 5.