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Two siblings to oversee Joginder Singh Dhanjal’s Sh2.1bn estate

Friday November 2 2018

Mr Jaspal Kaur Nagi

Joginder Singh Dhanjal (centre) and his son Kavir Singh (left) chat with their lawyer Mohamed Ali outside the High Court in Mombasa. A Mombasa court has appointed Joginder Singh and his sister Sukhwant Kaur Dhanjal, as joint administrators of the family's Sh2.1 billion estate. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

BRIAN OCHARO
By BRIAN OCHARO
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A Mombasa court has appointed businessman Joginder Singh Dhanjal, and his sister Sukhwant Kaur Dhanjal, as joint administrators of the family's Sh2.1 billion estate.

This brings to an end a prolonged battle over the management of the estate of their father, Mr Jaswant Singh Boor Singh Dhanjal, who died 14 years ago.

High Court Judge Mugure Thande said the majority of the beneficiaries of the estate were comfortable with Mr Joginder and Mrs Sukhwant as the administrators.

“In the circumstances and in the interest of moving forward, I do revoke the grant issued to Mr Joginder and do hereby appoint him (Joginder) and his sister (Sukhwant) as the joint administrators of the estate,” the judge ruled.

ADMINISTRATOR

Justice Thande also directed the administrators to file a summon of confirmation of grant within 30 days.

“I do direct Mr Daljit Singh Dhanjal to hand over all documents relating to the estate to the administrator,” he said.

Mr Daljit had reportedly taken control of the estate for his sole benefit, and excluded his siblings.

Mr Boor died in 2004 and left behind five children, three sons and two daughters, who are in a succession battle for the family's business. The business is just a portion of the tycoon's vast estate.

Last week, Justice Thande declined to issue orders allowing the prosecution of Mr Daljit, the third son, who is the director of Dhanjal Brothers, an infrastructure construction, building and maintenance company.

SIBLING RIVALRY

The company (Dhanjal Brothers) was formed by Mr Boor’s sons to continue with the family business in their own names, but sibling rivalry spilt into the courts.

Justice Thande said despite the court’s findings that Mr Daljit had meddled in the estate, both parties remain siblings and family members after they leave the courts.

“In dealing with matters concerning families, the court must be mindful of the need to foster lasting family relations," the judge said.

Nothing in law prevented the court from ordering the prosecution of Mr Daljit, but that would be a restorative, rather than a punitive, measure.

The suit seeking prosecution of Mr Daljit was filed by his sister, Mrs Jaspal Kaur Nagi, who lives in the United Kingdom.

In another application, she sought the annulment of a settlement agreement entered into by Mr Daljit and his uncles on March 9, 2006, to dispose of the family's assets.

HARMONY

She stressed that the family needed measures that would promote harmony among the Dhanjal siblings.

The judge noted that allowing prosecution of one of the siblings would lead to further degeneration of their relationship thus tearing the family apart more that they are now.

“At the end of the day, each party wants to benefit from the estate of their late father and it is important they do not lose the sight of that ultimate goal, “she ruled.

The suit seeking prosecution of Mr Daljit was filed by his sister, Mrs Jaspal Kaur Nagi, who lives in the United Kingdom.

Mrs Jaspal had told the court that Daljit had illegally and unlawfully entered into the settlement agreement by which assets of the estates of their deceased father were disposed off.

SUCCESSION

She further submitted that under the law of succession, what her brother had done was a criminal offence and deserved to be prosecuted for it.

““It is therefore only fair and just that the respondent be criminally prosecuted and be held criminally liable for his illegal and unlawful actions,” she said through lawyer Khalid Salim.

In further application, she sought for the annulment of a settlement agreement that was entered into by Mr Daljit and his uncles on March 9, 2006, to dispose the family assets contrary to the law. This settlement agreement had been nullified in a court ruling of October 2016.

Joginder said in court that Daljit transferred some of the shares to himself using “devious means, intimidation and coercion,” adding he only learnt about it when signing documents presented at the court whose contents he did not understand that approved the transfers.

LAND ACQUISITION

Despite all the accusations, the judge advised that it was important that they (siblings) doesn’t lose sight of the ultimate goal, that of each parties benefiting from the estate of their late father.

The company deals in land acquisition, construction, building, maintenance, leasing as well as acquisition and purchase of merchandise and other properties.

The contractor has been involved in major building projects at the Coast including building of the Mariakani-Kaloleni road, Links Road and was also a sub-contractor in the building of Nyali Bridge.

Summon of confirmation shall be heard on December 7.