Dar es Salaam. For Jacqueline Ntuyabaliwe, the battle for inheritance of properties of her late husband and business tycoon, Reginald Mengi, is not yet over.
The former beauty queen won reprieve after the Court of Appeal rejected legal challenges that sought to block hearing of an application in which she has sought revision of decision of the High Court that nullified Mengi’s last will.
The apex court’s decision means the application by Ms Ntuyabaliwe who challenges findings of the High Court that her late husband had no mental ability to make a valid will, will be heard and determined on merit.
She is also arguing that she was only called to testify as a court witness in respect of Mengi’s last will as a heir and a person who came across the will after the death of her husband but not a party to the High Court’s case.
The legal fight over Mengi’s wealth started in 2019 when four people petitioned the High Court to block validation the will of Mr Mengi who allegedly died testate in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
The petition was fiercely opposed by Mengi’s children and relatives who filed a joint caveat on grounds that those who sought validation of the will had no interest in the deceased’s properties as they were all strangers to the said properties.
The four petitioners were asking the court to confirm Ms Ntuyabaliwe and Mengi’s twin sons as the heir of the property of Mengi through his last will.
On their part, the caveators---Abdiel Reginald Mengi and Benjamin Abraham Mengi---contended to have been duly appointed by the clan members of Mr Mengi to administer the estate in question because, according to them, the will allegedly left by the deceased was invalid.
In its decision of May 18 this year, the High Court nullified the will for being invalid and unenforceable.
The court went on to appoint the two caveators co-administrators of the estate of Mr Mengi and required them to discharge their duties and file inventory within six months.
Jacqueline who enjoyed marriage life with Mr Mengi for five years since 2015 was aggrieved by the decision and rushed to the Court of Appeal to challenge the decision.
But before the application was heard and determined on merit, respondents in the case—Abdiel Reginald Mengi, Benjamin Abraham Mengi, Benson Benjamin Mengi, William Onesmo Mushi, Zoeb Hassuji and Sylvia Novatus Mushi raised six legal challenges and asked the court to strike it out.
They argued, among other things, that the application for revision was incompetent and incurably defective for failing to adhere to the mandatory provisions of the Court of Appeal Rules, 2009.
“There are no essential and certified documents attached to the supporting affidavit and hence incompetent,” they argued.
A lawyer for the respondents argued that there were no documents referred in the supporting affidavit but were not attached to form part of the evidence contained in. He said the court could not rely on such documents to make its decision in the matter.
While admitting the presentation of the application had some shortcomings, the judges said the mere slip was not fatal.
“We as well entertain no doubt that the mode of attachment preferred by the applicant (Ntuyabaliwe) is uncommon. But then again, we think the documents so attached cannot be ignored or reduced to nothing at all to the extent of not considering them,” said Judges Jacobs Mwambegele, Mary Levira and Issa Maige.
Mengi died on May 2, 2019 at a hospital in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), where he had gone for a vacation and health checkup. He was accompanied by his wife, Ntuyabaliwe.