A Nairobi businessman, identified as POM to protect his identity, has secured a significant legal victory after a prolonged legal battle with a woman he cohabited with for 25 years. Following his eviction in 2011, he will now enjoy 30% of the wealth they amassed during their relationship.

High Court Judge Hillary Chemitei issued the ruling in compliance with a Supreme Court decision, granting POM a fair share of the wealth accumulated during their cohabitation. This verdict marks the culmination of a dispute that had been contested up to the highest court in the land.

The crux of the legal dispute revolved around the division of the couple’s wealth, which included various commercial and residential properties. Despite the Supreme Court’s determination that there was no formal marriage between the parties, it recognized their legal interest in the shared assets.

POM initiated legal proceedings against the woman, asserting their cohabitation constituted a de facto marriage. He claimed they began living together as husband and wife in 1986, pooling their resources to acquire property over the years.

However, the woman contested POM’s claims, denying his involvement in the acquisition of the disputed property. She argued that their relationship was merely platonic and that she was already married under customary law to another individual.

The legal battle traversed through multiple court levels, with conflicting judgments regarding the nature of the relationship between POM and the woman. While the Court of Appeal presumed the existence of a marriage, the Supreme Court ultimately sided with the woman’s assertion that no marriage existed.

Despite the lack of a formal marital bond, the Supreme Court acknowledged POM’s contribution to the acquisition and development of the disputed property. Consequently, it ruled in his favor, granting him a 30% share of the wealth accumulated during their cohabitation.

In implementing the Supreme Court’s decision, the High Court directed the woman to share rental income accrued from the property with POM. The judge ordered her to remit 30% of the rental income collected since POM’s eviction in 2011 within 30 days.

Furthermore, the court mandated the appointment of professionals to demarcate undeveloped portions of the property, ensuring an equitable division between the parties. The costs associated with this process will be shared proportionately by both parties.

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