Puzzle of Jonathan Moi's modest estate

Thursday October 10 2019

The late Jonathan Moi. A clump blocked an artery in Jonathan’s lungs, and on April 20, 2019 the businessman succumbed to the complication. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP


He was the eldest son of former President Daniel arap Moi and arguably the most accomplished local Safari rally driver — only second to Patrick Njiru — but Jonathan Kipkemboi Moi lived a modest life.

A clump blocked an artery in Jonathan’s lungs, and on April 20, 2019 the businessman succumbed to the complication. He had pancreatic cancer, which was in its advanced stages when he was first diagnosed in early April.

At the time, Jonathan was married to Sylvia J. Jonathan Moi and together they had four children — Clint, Barbara, Leroy and Wayne.

Several tributes followed the man many knew as JT from all over. Not even Deputy President William Ruto, seen as the biggest political enemy of Jonathan’s younger brother Gideon, was left out as he shared in the Moi family’s grief.

At the time of his death, Jonathan had not prepared a will, a move that could set the stage for a protracted battle for his property.



The High Court has allowed Sylvia to temporarily hold administrative powers over her late husband’s estate to ensure that his businesses continue to receive and pay money due to them.

The powers however will be limited to paying bills and preserving Jonathan’s estate until the court makes a final determination on the administration application.

Jonathan’s estate, worth Sh30 million, is pretty modest, especially when placed alongside that of his father and his younger brothers Gideon and Philip.

A mere Google search of the wealth Jonathan’s father amassed while in office, and a peek at several profitable businesses the family runs largely through Gideon, would give one the impression that JT was also immensely wealthy.

But the court documents seem to confirm gossip that JT had a distant relationship with his father and lived a separate life away from the copious amounts of money in his father’s possession.

A source close to the larger Moi family and who helped the Nation to acquire the documents filed in court — now under lock and key at the High Court — said the Moi family met on May 22 and proposed that Sylvia take the administrator’s role.


Sylvia and her son Clint Kiprono Moi have now asked the High Court in Milimani to grant them administration powers over the late businessman’s estate.

The estate comprises a piece of land in Nairobi’s Industrial Area that is valued at Sh15 million and shares in Tiro Holdings Ltd (Sh10 million) and Nakuru Oil Mills (Sh5 million).

Jonathan had no debts to his name when he died, a position many a man would envy.

Interestingly, the court documents do not make any mention of Jonathan’s farm in Eldama Ravine, indicating that the prime property could be registered to his wife or children.

The documents also make no mention of other individuals who have previously claimed to be Jonathan’s children.

Lawrence Kipchumba, Gerald Kipkosgei and Geoffrey Kipkurui have claimed to be Jonathan’s children.

The three were allegedly born out of wedlock, and they reside at their grandmother’s home in Kabimoi, Baringo County.


Jonathan was closer to his mother Lena, who died in 2004, than any of his siblings. And it was this relationship that built a Chinese wall between Jonathan and the rest of the Moi family.

The court documents also make no mention of any bank accounts, meaning there could be some assets that have remained undisclosed.

It is no secret that Jonathan did not get along with Gideon, but the latter has now agreed to stand in as a guarantor for his sister-in-law’s proposed estate administrator’s role.

With the estate being valued at Sh30 million, Gideon has agreed to guarantee half the amount, while Philip will stand in for the balance.

This means that if Sylvia is granted full administration powers and the estate is mismanaged, Gideon and Philip will together pay Sh30 million to cater for any losses.


The brothers will also step in as administrators if Jonathan’s estate is mismanaged.

“Know all men by these presents that we Gideon Kipsielei Towett Moi and Philip Kipchirchir Moi are bound unto the Chief Justice and judges of Kenya in the sum of Sh30 million to be paid to the said Chief Justice or judges of Kenya for the time being for which payment well and truly be made. We bind ourselves, our respective heirs, executors and administrators, successors and assigns firmly by these presents,” the Moi brothers say in court filings.

All four of Jonathan’s children with Sylvia have already consented to their mother’s running of the estate as they await the court’s final determination.

In the application for temporary administration powers, Sylvia said she needed the authority to collect and pay various dues regarding Tiro Holdings, which owns a rental property in Nairobi’s Industrial Area.

She added that the land owned by Nakuru Oil Mills is also to pay land rates and rent for which administration authority was required.