Billionaire businessman Lee Karuri is worried that one of his sisters, a CEO of a blue chip company, may have joined a cult because she has cut off family ties and is giving away property worth millions of shillings to Uhai Africa, a ‘wellness clinic’ along Moi Avenue.
Karuri, one of Kenya’s leading architects is a born-again Christian. The successful entrepreneur is also accusing the clinic for using ‘cultic powers’ to mislead his younger sister to benefit from the Karuri family’s wealth.
“It’s been on my mind for long, and I have to speak out. I don’t mind being ridiculed, because I don’t want what happened to Magu to befall my sister’s family,” says Karuri, referring to lawyer Paul Magu who reportedly murdered his wife Lydia Wangui together with their three children in December 2014. Magu was said to have joined a cult and bequeathed his belongings to a pastor who has since been charged in court in relation to the deaths.
But Uhai Africa claims it’s been caught in the crossfire of a family feud.
“We have never fraudulently taken a single cent from anyone. People who come here pay for our services and that’s it. We don’t follow them to their homes,” says Aggrey Akwiyanga one of the directors at Uhai Africa.
Karuri, in the meantime, has recorded a statement at Nairobi Area Police Station, asking them to probe Uhai Africa. According to his police statement, which The Nairobian, is privy to, Karuri says it all started in the early months of 2015 when he was attending a wellness programme at a centre known as Uhai in Nairobi.
“I found the programme beneficial and recommended it to my sister and my brother-in-law for their personal wellness sometime in April, 2015.
“About a month after my sister and her husband had started going to the wellness centre, their character changed and they stopped communicating with me, other family members and their close friends,” he told the police.
Karuri alleges that to date, his sister and her husband have completely withdrawn from family circles and have become hostile and isolated themselves and their children from most of their friends.
“On investigating the strange behaviour, it came to the family’s attention that indeed my sister and her husband were engaging themselves in a religious cult relationship (sic) with the promoters of Uhai Africa,” Karuri added.
But when contacted, Uhai Africa directors Catherine Ndungu and Aggrey Akwiyanga denied coercing Karuri’s sister to hand over her property to them.
Insisting that their organisation is neither a cult, nor a church, Akwiyanga said theirs was a wellness programme aimed at helping people and that their operations are ‘beyond reproach.’
But Karuri says that what is bothering them is that his sister and her husband have completely blocked most family members out of their lives.
“The family is afraid that the religious cult the couple is involved with might eventually come to harm them. It has come to our attention that the promoters of Uhai visit the couple in their home. .
“It has reached a point where their children, who are minors, have been forced to fast for very long hours. To make a bad situation worse, the couple and their children live in total isolation with only Uhai Africa promoters having access to them. This risk may extend to the safety of the couple, their children, their properties, their assets and their employment,” reads part of Karuri’s statement.
“We also learnt that they had started giving out their property to the church. There is nothing wrong with giving money to the church, but when a church tells you to stop communicating with your family, then definitely, there is trouble,” says Karuri.
Akwiyanga dismissed Karuri’s claims, terming them mere allegations aimed at tarnishing the name of his organisation.
“If he had any evidence of any nature about these allegations he should have gone to court. Why is he using other people to malign us?” he posed.
Akwiyanga accused Karuri of fighting them because they had enabled his sister to be an independent thinker.
“It is not brainwashing anyone, she became an independent thinker and Karuri saw that he is losing control over his sister’s life, so he started fighting us. The sister’s husband had to even get a restraining order to stop Karuri from interfering with their life. She is a married woman who can make her own decisions,” says Akwiyanga