Billions of shillings in bank and property that Raila Odinga channeled to his son Fidel Castro for political expediency, campaigns and business expansion are at the heart of the tussle between his wife Ida and Fidel’s widow Lwam Bekele.
Insiders reveal that the Railas got alarmed after learning that Bekele is dating a new man and chances of them tying the knot are high.
What is alarming the Railas is that if Bekele remarries, they will lose all the properties and cash Raila had stashed in Fidel’s accounts.
According to Kenya’s Succession Act, the wife or husband is the major beneficiary of her husband or wife’s estate in case of death unless the deceased had written a will directing how his or her estate should be administered.
Sources in the know say Raila had invested billions of shillings through his son, Fidel, whom he was grooming to succeed him once he called it a day in politics but his death crushed the ODM leader’s dream.
Fidel, who died in January 2015 without leaving a will, had acquired several properties among them a house in Karen’s Tipuana Park, two pieces of land in Kisumu, a parcel of land in Kajiado, shares in Axum Investments Limited and Ambesa Investments Limited, and four vehicles.
Fidel also had seven bank accounts. The only liability revealed in the filings are debts to a credit card issued by Stanbic Bank’s Chiromo branch in Nairobi.
Other properties that Raila had gifted his son include a hotel in Kisumu along Harambee Road and over 300-unit housing estate project at the lakeside city valued at around Sh1.9 billion.
To lend Fidel a veneer of economic credibility lest it raised eyebrows where the billions in his banks suddenly came from, Raila when he was PM in of the grand coalition government introduced Fidel to big time tenderpreneurs in the road construction industry which saw Fidel get tenders to supply bitumen that was used in Thika Super Highway.
Other assets include three top-of-the-range vehicles, three bank accounts and the home in Karen.
But in her defence, Bekele insists she did not know of the Mercedes Benz Fidel owned, and that one of the Range Rovers in question is in the possession of her late husband’s business partner, only identified as Hossein, and who claims to have bought the vehicle.
The second Range Rover, Bekele argues, is registered in the name of an individual identified as Yunis Muhammed.
As for their matrimonial home, Bekele insists that its ownership fully shifted to her after Fidel’s death hence it cannot form part of her late husband’s estate.
Bekele also downplayed Fidel’s wealth when, in an affidavit sworn by her lawyer, revealed the amount of money she collects from their properties in Nairobi, Kisumu and Mombasa.
She dismissed claims the properties are owned by Raila, and his wife, Ida.
Bekele also dismissed claims that her late husband sired twins with Phoebe Akinyi saying the woman is an opportunist who is supported by the Raila family to defraud her of inheritance.
“I survive on Sh1million only a month but they still want to frustrate me when I have their grandson. My in-laws are swimming in wealth and still want to take the little I have,” she said.
She made the statement even as the court ordered the twins to be subjected to a DNA test to establish whether they were sired by Fidel.
Insiders added that so much a blow was Fidel’s death to Raila that he spent more than six hours kneeling besides the body the day Fidel died.
Last week, Ida indirectly claimed her eldest son could have been poisoned by his Eritrean wife, who was entertaining another lover.
In what reads like a direct script from a Mexican soap opera, Ida claimed her son Fidel was probably poisoned and that is why she has moved to court to block Bekele from inheriting all Fidel’s properties. Fidel died mysteriously in January, 2015. It was alleged that the death was related to alcohol. Fidel was a famous heavy drinker wildly popular in top bars in the city.
A few months before his death, Fidel was forced to dismiss rumours that he was going to divorce Bekele over illicit sexual affairs.
The rumours claimed he had found his newly wedded wife in a rather compromising situation with his best friend after a night out at a club in town.
The rumours which went viral in the social media had it that the couple was sleeping in separate bedrooms due to the marital differences they had.
But sources then close to Fidel said he was really disappointed after reading the rumours on the internet.
“Fidel and Bekele are very happy contrary to these allegations. He is shocked and is wondering how these rumours came up. He just wants to be left alone to enjoy his marriage,” the source was quoted saying.
Fidel and Bekele got married in July 2015 at a private event at the Greek Orthodox Church along Valley Road, Nairobi after dating for over a year.
This was the second wedding for Fidel after he split up with his first wife, Veronica Wanjiru and finalised their divorce in 2014.
While dismissing rumours that she was entertaining another man, the half Eritrean-half German Bekele told a local newspaper that Fidel was her eldest brother.
Fidel on his part described Lwam “as like a sister; a family friend whom I have known since my childhood days and was a wonderful person who was born to be a wife and mum”.
According to preliminary reports from police, Fidel collapsed in his house hours after he returned home from partying at Sankara Hotel in Westlands.
He was in the company of second son of former Kenya Powerf managing director, Samuel Gichuru and other sons of prominent personalities. Police concluded that he died of a heart attack.
But Ida now says Fidel could have been killed by his wife and that is why she is seeking to block the widow from solely administering her late husband’s estate.
In the court papers, Ida accuses Bekele of taking off from her matrimonial home in Karen soon after Fidel was laid to rest and cutting all contacts with the family.
She also says Lwam kept off as the Railas pushed to get to the bottom of what may have killed Fidel.
“That even though the death of (Fidel) remained a mystery and efforts were made to establish what suddenly transpired, the petitioners herein, kept off from the family,” Ida and her daughter, Winnie said in a joint affidavit.
They went on: “It remains unclear why the petitioner hastily ran away and kept off the family, whereas, there have been various efforts to establish contact”.
But Bekele termed the statement “preposterous, offensive and made in bad taste”.
She says Ida was in possession of Fidel’s autopsy report.
In the court papers, Ida and his daughter, Winnie, give several reasons why Bekele should not be allowed to be the administrator of Fidel’s estate.
Ida and Winnie claim Fidel had twins with a different woman – a girl and a boy – who are legally also his dependents.
“The petitioner has deliberately failed to include and provide or otherwise show the intention of providing for the said minors hence a red flag on her intentions,” Ida said.
Bekele through her lawyers had termed her mother-in-law’s assertions as a concoction of facts given that the said twins were born six months after Fidel’s death.