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Nairobi wife is denied share of ex-husband’s hidden wealth

The Court of Appeal has allowed a man who concealed independently acquired assets from his spouse to keep it during divorce proceedings, setting a precedent that has given a new meaning to matrimonial property with far-reaching ramifications.

Nairobi businessman Andrew Munene Gachengo was last Friday allowed to keep a house he bought in Langata Estate without financial contribution from his wife, Mary Goretti Nyambura.

Judges Festus Azangalala, Mohammed Warsame and Wanjiru Karanja upheld the decision that the High Court had initially made in favour of Mr Gachengo.

Justice George Dulu of the High Court had ruled that Ms Nyambura, aside from making no contribution to the acquisition, was not registered as a co-owner of the property which was solely in her ex-husband’s name.

Mr Gachengo’s lawyer, Tom Macharia, had argued that his client took a mortgage to acquire a house in Langata’s Otiende Estate before marrying Ms Nyambura and completed the payments using his own money during the marriage.

His wife, Ms Nyambura, did not have any knowledge of the property during their marriage.

Ms Nyambura had wanted the appeals court to award her and Mr Gachengo equal ownership rights to seven properties, including the Langata house, parcels of land in Otiende Estate, Kahawa West, Hinga Estate, Dennis Pritt Road in Kilimani, Karen and Kiserian.

She argued that her contribution to other family expenses had helped Mr Gachengo to complete the clandestine mortgage payments. But the appeals court judges held that she failed to provide proof of her claim.

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SOURCE: Business Daily