A court battle between a woman and her niece is brewing over an alleged breach of privacy.
Elizabeth Waithera, in a case filed before the High Court in Nairobi, accuses her niece, Angela Chemeli, of hacking into her mobile phone and using data collected in a separate case.
The duel between the two relatives, which is now before High Court Judge Lawrence Mugambi, stems from a succession case.
Chemeli’s mother, Jane Wambui, is Waithera’s sister. Court documents filed by Waithera indicate that Chemeli objected to having her aunt and uncle granted powers to manage her late mother’s estate.
Her aunt claims that differences over succession started in 2021 and have been allegedly pending before the Family Court at Milimani.
Before Justice Mugambi, Waithera states that she lives in Namibia but sometime between June and July 2021, she allegedly came to Kenya to sort out some family business.
According to her, the business included taking some documents from a house where Chemeli and her sibling live.
According to Waithera, Chemeli denied her access to the house.
Waithera claims that she noticed that her mobile phone started behaving in an unusual manner.
“It would occasionally reboot unprompted,” she says, adding that whenever she made calls, it produced echo sounds.
She continues: “Apprehensive that someone might actually be intercepting and or interfering with my communication and or mobile device, I decided to switch off the line and register another one to utilise in private communication.”
Further, Waithera claims that she noticed that Chemeli had her information that she had not allegedly shared with anyone.
“Incidentally, this is the period within which I was in Kenya and had suspected that my device and or registered number had been tampered with and my communication was being intercepted. … It is apparent that the respondent intercepted all my chats, including my intimate conversations which left me embarrassed and stripped of dignity,” claims Waithera.
According to her, she initially suspected that it was her lawyer who was giving the information to her niece.
Nevertheless, Waithera alleges that her lawyer informed her that in March this year, Chemeli filed an application before the Family Court and attached screenshots of WhatsApp conversations from June to July 2021.
Waithera claims that Chemeli is like a daughter to her, adding that she feels that her niece has allegedly breached her privacy and trust.
She argues that the evidence and the exhibits that Chemeli produced in court should be classified as illegally obtained evidence.
Waithera wants the court to declare that her niece has infringed her dignity and privacy. At the same time, she is asking the court to order her niece to pay damages for the alleged breach.
Further, she is also asking the court to block her niece from using any information that is at the heart of the dispute.
No legal entitlement
In the succession case, Waithera and her brother George Gachoka had sought authority to manage Wambui’s estate.
However, Chemeli opposed the same. In her opposition, Chemeli stated that she is Wambui’s eldest daughter.
According to her, Waithera and Gachoka could not be beneficiaries as her late mother had two children who are alive.
“ The petitioners are sister and brother of the deceased and therefore have no legal entitlement to apply for legal representation of the deceased’s estate.
The deceased died intestate domiciled in Nairobi, Kenya, and left behind the objector herein and her sister as the only lawful and rightful beneficiaries of her estate,” said Chemeli.
Justice Mugambi directed Waithera to serve her niece with the court papers and appear before him on November 29 this year for a mention.