Fight for matrimonial home: Sarah Wairimu says Tob Cohen’s Will is Fake


Fight for matrimonial home: Sarah Wairimu says Tob Cohen’s Will is Fake

Fight for matrimonial home: Sarah Wairimu says Tob Cohen's Will is Fake
Lawyer Philip Murgor with his client Sarah Wairimu Kamotho, who is charged with the murder of her husband, Dutch tycoon Tob Cohen. Courtesy/Photo

A Will purportedly authored by murdered Dutch tycoon Tob Cohen is a forgery and authorities have refused to investigate the matter, his widow Sarah Wairimu Kamotho has told the High Court in Nairobi.

Ms Wairimu says execution of the Will dated April 30, 2019 is aimed to block her from inheriting the multimillion-shilling estate, which comprise motor vehicles, money in banks (locally and oversees) and a house.

Through lawyer Phillip Murgor, Ms Wairimu told Justice James Makau that the Will was found to be a forgery by a document examiner.

In the Will, Ms Wairimu was left empty-handed by her husband who left all his wealth, both assets and cash, to his relatives.

Though he did not name who forged the Will, Mr Murgor said after discovering that the document was fake, a complaint was lodged at the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) for further investigations.

“There is a complaint that the DCI and Director of Public Prosecution have refused to investigate the complaint that the Will is a forgery,” Mr Murgor told the court during mention of a petition in which Ms Wairimu wants her trial for the tycoon’s murder declared a mistrial.

In the petition, Ms Wairimu is seeking to regain ownership for a Sh500 million home at Farasi Lane, Mugumoini Close in Nairobi’s Lower Kabete, a Porsche and two pet dogs.

Matrimonial home

She says she is entitled to half of the matrimonial home that is currently guarded by police as a crime scene. The police, she says, have refused to grant her access to the home because they want to hand it over to Mr Cohen’s relatives.

Ms Wairimu wants the court to compel the police to release her car — a Porsche Cayenne. She says the car is her personal property and is not part of Mr Cohen’s estate.

She also wants the release of two pet dogs named Major and Snow, which are being kept at the Kenya Society for the Protection and Care of Animals in Karen.

Mr Murgor, a senior counsel, wants his client’s murder trial declared a violation of her constitutional rights because she was charged without evidence.

He says the murder case is founded on hearsay, and built on a malicious investigation process with the view to deny her the right to inherit her matrimonial properties.

In the constitutional petition, the lawyer adds that the DPP has taken over 14 months to furnish him with the evidence against Ms Wairimu to enable her prepare a substantive rebuttal in defending herself.

But the petition has met hostility from three relatives of the murdered tycoon who have opposed Ms Wairimu’s attempt to regain control of the deceased’s assets, including the palatial home in Nairobi.

The relatives named as Bernard Cohen (deceased’s brother), Sharon Van Tienhoven (his niece) and Gabrielle Van Straten (his sister) are also opposed to Ms Wairimu’s attempt to access the two pets and the car.

They told Justice Makau that the pets and the car as well as the matrimonial home are part of Cohen’s estate which he bequeathed to them through a Will.

Distributed wealth

The court heard that Bernard and Gabrielle are executors of Cohen’s Will, in which he had distributed all his wealth, both assets and cash, to them to the exclusion of Ms Wairimu.

Through a team of four lawyers led by Aby Abuya and Shadrack Wambui, the relatives sought to be allowed to join the petition filed by Ms Wairimu seeking to compel the police to release the assets to her.

Justice Makau allowed the application by Cohen’s relatives to join Ms Wairimu’s petition but said for now their participation is limited to determination of a question raised by the DPP as to whether the court has powers to hear the petition.

The DPP through State Counsel Vincent Monda lodged the preliminary objection arguing that a High Court judge has no supervisory powers against another High Court judge.

This is because Ms Wairimu’s petition was lodged at the High Court’s Constitutional Division and seeks to stop the murder trial that is ongoing at the High Court’s Criminal Division.

After allowing the relatives to join the case, justice Makau told them to file their written arguments within seven days.

He added that Ms Wairimu’s request to access the home, the car and the pets will await determination of DPP’s question.

The case will be mentioned on December 17, 2020.

By Joseph Wangui


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