PHOTOS: Prominent people who attended Tob Cohen’s burial

The burial ceremony of Dutch tycoon Tob Cohen is underway in Nairobi.

Cohen’s wife Sarah Wairimu, who is accused of murdering him, arrived for the interment at the Jewish Cemetery on Wangari Maathai Road shortly before 3pm.

Former government spokesperson Muthui Kariuki, officials from the Dutch embassy and President Uhuru Kenyatta’s cousin Ngengi Muigai, Captain Kung’u Muigai are among those in attendance.

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President Uhuru Kenyatta’s cousin Ngengi Muigai, Captain RTd Kung’u Muigai (In cap). Photo by Dan Muhuni

Cohen’s burial, which was initially scheduled for Monday, was postponed to Tuesday due to failure to get 10 rabbis drew attention to the interment traditions of Jews.

The Dutchman captured the headlines last month after he was reported missing. His body was found in the septic in his compound, almost 60 days after he was reported missing.

At the time, the 71-year-old tours and travel expert had been pursuing a divorce case against Ms Wairimu. He had also filed an assault case against her.

Ms Wairimu was arrested as the key suspect behind his murder.

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One of the Jewish priests arrives at the Chiromo Mortuary to perform last rites before Tob Cohen’s body is moved to the cemetery for burial. PHOTO | FRANCIS NDERITU | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Initially, Mr Cohen’s workers had told police that he left his high-security compound, where CCTV cameras point to the drive-way, on the afternoon of July 20 at around 2pm. They claimed that he only carried a briefcase and was driven off in a white car.

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Cohen family lawyers Cliff Ombeta and Dunstan Omari at the Chiromo Mortuary on September 24, 2019. PHOTO | FRANCIS NDERITU | NATION MEDIA GROUP

At first, his wife – well known in Nairobi socialite circles – had told Mr Cohen’s friends that the established golf tournament organiser had left for Thailand to seek treatment but detectives say that there is no evidence from immigration department that the missing tycoon had left the country.

Below are the photos from the funeral courtesy of Rooney Dan Muhuni Facebook Page

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By nation.co.ke

Tob Cohen’s sister leaves the country, won’t attend burial

Ms. Gabrielle Van Straten, the sister of murdered Dutch tycoon Tob Cohen, will not attend her late brother’s burial scheduled for Monday despite having been at the forefront of the funeral arrangements.

In a quite unexpected turn of events, Gabrielle flew out of the country on Saturday just a day after her late brother’s will was opened.

Her Lawyer Cliff Ombeta disclosed to Citizen TV that Gabrielle and her husband had returned to their home in Netherlands due to personal reasons.

According to Ombeta, Gabrielle had already completed her stay in the country and had to resume her other engagements back home.

Gabrielle was expected to attend the burial alongside close family members and Cohen’s widow Sarah Wairimu, who is a key suspect in the murder of her brother.

On Friday, Cohen’s siblings were presented with his will, which remains private, even as his estranged wife Wairimu and her legal team kept away preparing to contest the will in court.

According to insiders, Cohen who did not have a child left 50 percent of his estate to his sister Gabrielle and the other 50 percent is to be split into half between his nephew and niece.

His bank balances are supposed to be channeled to his sister, Gabrielle.

Sources close to the family revealed that the already contentious will has expressly left out Wairimu from inheriting anything in Tob Cohen’s estate.

Earlier on, there was a push-and-pull over the funeral modalities as both Gabrielle and Wairimu claimed the right to bury the deceased billionaire.

Cohen’s sister had demanded she be given the body as soon as the post-mortem is conducted but Wairimu objected insisting that despite the murder charges against her, she is still the widow and entitled to burying her late husband.

The two parties, however, reached an agreement and their lawyers, in a joint press address, announced that Sarah and Gabrielle would both take part in the family-members-only burial.

Wairimu is currently remanded at the Lang’ata Women’s Prison as police complete investigations into her alleged involvement in the murder of her husband.

Her lawyer is set to file an application on Monday to have the court allow her attend the burial scheduled to take place at a Jewish cemetery in Nairobi.
By Citizen

No viewing of the body or opening of the casket at Cohen’s funeral

At the Jewish cemetery along Wangari Maathai Road, trees swayed to the sides in utmost obedience to the wind, oblivious of the melodrama surrounding the death of the man they are about to receive.
Tob Cohen, the Dutch businessman whose body was discovered in a septic tank in his own compound will find eternal rest in these grounds where hundreds of his racial kin are reposing.
It is unclear if the widow Sarah Wairimu will attend the burial since her application to witness his final send-off will be heard tomorrow morning.
Through her lawyer, Wairimu had asked the court to issue an order to compel Lang’ata Women’s Prison where she is being held to allow her to attend the burial at 1.30 pm.
Door number 184
In his life, the happier times, Cohen had marked the very spot his remains will be interred in line with Judaist customs and traditions. At the cemetery, the spot is marked number 184, his final number under the sun.
“There will be no viewing of the body, no opening of the casket at the funeral. The body is not buried in suits but wrapped in white clothing”, a source at the Jewish Synagogue in Nairobi, told the Sunday Standard newspaper.
When the ceremony begins tomorrow, it will be a strictly private family affair.
An agreement issued last week stated as much: “The burial ceremony will be private and for family members only. Sarah and Gabrielle will participate as widow and sister respectively,” the joint statement from lawyers Philip Murgor and Cliff Ombeta said.
When the few family members gather at the grounds led by his brother Bernard – his sister Gabrielle flew out yesterday – there will be no greetings until after Cohen’s casket goes down.
Before that, the family members will have to make special and ritualistic tear on their outer garments. If Cohen’s parents were to be in attendance, they would tear the left side of their garments, just above the heart. Jewish traditions Bernard, and any other siblings will, however, make their small hardly noticeable tears on the right side of their garments.
These are the Jewish traditions of sending off their loved ones.
According to a source, the service will begin with prayers and biblical passages followed by the reading of the eulogy. There will be chanting of prayers then the casket will be taken to the graveside slowly in acknowledgment of the long journey ahead.
The mourners in such ceremonies are required to dress in black and dress modestly to show respect to the deceased. No music is allowed during the occasion.
“Sometimes the immediate family pay their final respects before the funeral. In Israel, caskets are not used at all, with the exception of military and state funerals.
Instead, the body is carried to the grave wrapped in a tallit and placed directly in the earth,” a source at the Jewish synagogue said.

Cohen’s Will:Brother, sister & her children inherit millions, wife gets nothing

Murdered city tycoon Tob Cohen did not leave any of his property and money to his widow Sarah Wairimu.
Cohen gave their Sh400 million matrimonial home, that has been the centre of a dispute, to his sister Gabrielle Van Straten and her children.
Cohen also willed a huge sum of money said to be in hundreds of millions to his elder brother Bernard Cohen.
One source close to Cohen’s family told the Star newspaper that the deceased had Sh150 million in two separate bank accounts.
One account had Sh100 million while the other had Sh50 million.
His last wish, according to the will seen by Dutch sources, was that he be laid to rest according to Jewish tradition. He also gave directions about where his body will be laid to rest on Monday.
The already contested will was opened yesterday at the office of lawyer Chege Kirundi, who was the custodian.Flanked by Gabriel and Benard, the lawyer assured the press that the will had not been tampered with as had been earlier alleged in a section of the media.
Kirundi displayed the will that was enclosed in a brown envelope wrapped with white tape and a brown seal.
“The last will of Tob Cohen,” were the words printed on the cover. The lawyer also said that the will was recorded at his office at Bruce House Nairobi in his presence.
Kirundi said even though he had invited Sarah’s lawyer Philip Murgor to be present when the will was opened, he had not arrived by 1pm, more than one and a half hours after the agreed time.
“I will go ahead and read the will because Murgor has taken long to appear and he had not sent a representative,” he said.
Also present was a representative of lawyer Danstan Omari.
Lawyer Cliff Ombeta for Cohen’s family also confirmed that he had been with Murgor that morning in court and had also extended an invite to him but he declined.
However, speaking to the Star newspaper, Murgor said they cannot contest something they have not yet seen.
Murgor said they are not concerned about the opening of the will but if it adversely affects Sarah’s rights to her matrimonial home and her interest in the company, then she will contest.
“If the will affects her rights in any way she will contest it in the High Court, all the way to the Supreme Court if necessary,” warned Murgor. The opening of the will when Sarah is in remand is not an accident, he said.
Ombeta also dismissed claims that Gabrielle knew the contents of the will before it was opened.
Kirundi was also put to task to say when the late tycoon wrote the will but he declined to disclose only later stating that it might have been this year.
All the parties retreated to Kirundi’s chambers and emerged an hour later saying they had all agreed with the contents of the will but were not in a position to divulge the details.
Both Gabrielle and Benard refused to address the media and asked Kirundi to speak on their behalf.
Kirundi said they had been gagged by the court not to divulge details of the case saying the will is part of a legal process.
“The will that I have read to them deals with assets of the deceased both movable and immovable,” Kirundi said.
Also present at the opening of the will was former MP Peter Muiruri who was there as one of the friends to the Cohen family.
Kirundi clarified why the will was opened yesterday saying that after the postmortem a lawyer is free to open the will and in this situation it was necessary to open it.
Murgor wrote a letter to Kirundi on Thursday after receiving the invite saying the will had already been compromised. He questioned why lawyer Omari had been invited to the opening of the last will of the deceased.
He also alleged that the will had already been compromised because the Star newspaper had published a story early this week relating to the said will.
Murgor further said he had been instructed by his client not to attend the opening of the will but requested to be given details of the Kitsuru home.
“In the meantime, we are instructed to request you to let us have details of any purported or ongoing transactions being handled by yourself in relation to Sarah’s matrimonial home, at Farasi Lane Mugumoini close including the confirmation of your instructions to include her as co-owner of the said property” reads the letter.
On Monday when Sarah appeared in court, she asked the court to release her on bail so that she could go home and fight for what was rightfully hers.
She is expected to appear in court on Thursday next week to answer to charges of murder after undergoing a mental assessment.

Cohen’s wealth & its heirs to be known today

The details of who slain Dutch tycoon Tob Cohen bequeathed his property will be known today.
Lawyer Chege Kirundi, who had been retained by Cohen, said the decision followed yesterday’s postmortem at Chiromo Mortuary, where his client’s body was positively identified.
“We shall be opening the will of the late Tob Cohen at 11.30am tomorrow (today) in our chambers,” Mr Kirundi said.
The lawyer sent letters to lawyers representing Cohen’s widow, Sarah Wairimu, and the legal team hired by Cohen’s sister, Gabrielle, and brother Bernard. Kirundi requested them to go to his office or send representatives.
Wairimu, who has been in custody on suspicion of killing her husband, was permitted by the court to witness the postmortem examination and help identify the body. She stayed throughout the exercise.
Officials said the examination’s results will be filed in court and would not be released to the public.
Justice Jessie Lesiit had earlier barred police investigators and Wairimu’s defence team from commenting on the murder case.
Lawyers Philip Murgor and Cliff Ombeta, who are representing Wairimu and Gabrielle respectively, also said they would go to court today to seek orders to bury Cohen on Monday at the Jewish Cemetery on Wangari Maathai Road in Nairobi.

Jewish rites
Mr Murgor and Mr Ombeta addressed a Press conference, where they said Cohen’s family had agreed to bury him in accordance with Jewish rites in a private ceremony that would start at 2pm.
“He was a Jew and they have their own rites that need to be respected. We intend to ask the court to allow the widow to be allowed to give her respect to her husband at the event,” said Murgor.
The lawyers said Jewish tradition required one to be buried 48 hours after death. They added that it would be a waste of resources if the parties involved disagreed on the way forward after the postmortem was conducted and the body freed for interment.
“We felt there was no need to argue over this issue and hence have agreed to conduct the event jointly. The rest will follow,” said Ombeta.
The lawyer requested the Director of Public Prosecutions, Director of Criminal Investigations and Prisons Service to help facilitate the compromise arrangement to enable Cohen to get a dignified send-off.
On Wednesday, Wairimu wrote to the management of Chiromo Mortuary asking it not to release Cohen’s body after it emerged that Gabrielle had indicated she wanted to bury her brother.
“We expect the authorities to enforce her legal rights. It is not our client who must get a court order to bury her husband. To the contrary, it is the sister, who does not live in Kenya, who must get a court order,” said Murgor.
The lawyer said Wairimu was aware of her husband’s wishes, which did not include “being buried within the shortest time possible”.
“We, therefore, demand that the burial permit be issued to no one else but herself or ourselves on her behalf. In the meantime, our client undertakes to pay for the preservation charges of the body.”
By Cyrus Ombati

Tob Cohen’s head was smashed: Dutch paper

The killers of slain Dutchman and golf magnate Tob Cohen smashed his skull, dislocated his left leg and broke his hands as he desperately fought them off.
A scan on Tuesday of Cohen’s body revealed the painful death the former Phillips Chief Executive officer suffered at the hands of his killers.
Images from the scan, according to Algemeen Dagblad (AD), a leading Dutch newspaper, showed that Cohen was tortured before he was overpowered by his killers in one of the most gruesome murders of recent times.
It emerged that the DNA materials collected from the Dutchman’s fingers and under his fingernails would provide credible leads in unmasking his killers once the analysis is completed.
The Dutch billionaire’s decomposing body was found last Friday afternoon — eight weeks after his disappearance — in an empty underground water tank at his posh Kitisuru villa. His body was wrapped in many layers of black plastic.
Cohen was reported missing from his Lower Kabete home in Nairobi between July 19 and July 20.
“The remains showed signs of torture, the police said. Cohen was murdered in a horrible way. His hands, feet and neck were tied before he was killed. The murderers took their time,” Director of Criminal Investigations George Kinoti said when the body was retrieved last Friday.
The much-awaited postmortem examination was performed yesterday on Cohen’s body at the Chiromo Funeral Parlour in the presence of his widow Sarah Wairimu, his sister Gabrielle Cohen, the investigating officer and other family members.
Wairimu, who was escorted to the facility under tight security by prison warders for the postmortem, earlier disagreed with Gabrielle on basic issues during the pre-postmortem conference.
The two bitterly clashed over how long Wairimu, who is the main suspect in the case, was supposed to be at the facility and who would identify Cohen’s body.
The grandstanding between the two sides, which had seen the postmortem postponed on Tuesday, threatened to scuttle the autopsy again yesterday.
At the Chiromo mortuary, the raging controversy surrounding Cohen’s death took a new twist after his family and the widow differed on who should be given the body.
While Gabrielle Cohen, the sister, demanded that the process be expedited so that she is given the body to dispose of before she flies out of the country, Wairimu, through her lawyers, rejected this.
She asserted that she was the one with the right over Cohen’s body as his widow.
Wairimu’s lawyer, Philip Murgor, was assertive that his client would not allow the body to be released to the sister of the tycoon, saying she has no right over it.
“The sister has no legal right over the body. We have rejected her demand and have written to Chiromo
Morgue not to release that body to anyone but Sarah Cohen,” Murgor said emphatically.
Murgor insisted Wairimu was fully aware of the wishes of her late husband, “none of which includes being buried within the shortest time possible”.
“Our client demands that the remains are not released to Gabrielle Cohen as she has no legal authority or mandate to take our client’s husband’s body, let alone to bury him,” a letter signed by Murgor and addressed to the morgue read in part.
“It is not our client who must get a court order to bury her husband. To the contrary, it is the sister who does not live in Kenya who must get a court order,” read the letter. The couple’s marriage certificate was attached to it.
The certificate indicated that Cohen was already divorced when he married Wairimu.
It emerged that problems started right from the pre-postmortem conference when a disagreement arose as to who would identify Cohen’s body.
While Murgor insinuated to reporters that Wairimu only ‘had slight difficulties’ in identifying the body but eventually positively did so, Cliff Ombeta, the lawyer for Cohen’s sister, asserted that Wairimu had failed to identify the body.
“Which body are we giving them? That woman said this is not the body of Cohen, so let her claim another body. I will say that on camera [on the record]. We want the body released to the family for onward disposal,” Ombeta said.
Murgor told reporters at Chiromo that police had initially resisted the widow’s plea to identify the body given the tough conditions set by the court.
The court order that allowed Wairimu to attend the autopsy required her to do so under the watchful eyes of the police.
“It is this feeling that saw them [police] insist that the lady [Wairimu] should not identify the body but the sister,” Murogor said.
Further, it emerged that the family of Cohen was particularly angered by the further delay in dis- posing of the body as this violated their Jewish culture.
According to Algemeen Dagblad (AD), a leading Dutch newspaper, Cohen’s sister wanted to be given the body to bury it today at a Jewish cemetery in Nairobi.
According to the newspaper’s website, Cohen wrote in his will that he wanted a Jewish funeral in Kenya where he had lived for more than 30 years.
Jewish tradition prescribes that a person should be buried as quickly as possible, usually after 36 hours, but this would be impractical given the circumstances.
The Dutch paper reported that after the burial, a goodbye ceremony would take place for Cohen’s friends in the Muthaiga Golf Club in Nairobi.
They plan to commemorate the golf magnate, former club president and an active member, during a dinner.
BY GORDON OUKO AND JAMES MBAKA

Intrigues that delayed Cohen’s postmortem

The long-awaited postmortem of the body of murdered Dutch national was postponed on Tuesday because of a stalemate over who should perform it.
The examination to determine the businessman’s cause of death was called off at the last minute and shifted to Wednesday at 9.30am.
Parties in the matter had congregated at the mortuary ready for the examination when differences ad confusion emerged.
The Star newspaper reports that it has learnt that Sarah Wairimu’s defence team led by Philip Murgor had objected to government pathologist Peter Ndegwa presiding over the exam, claiming that he would be biased against her.
In particular, they took issues with Ndegwa being at Cohen’s home last Friday when the corpse was found. They alleged that he said there were signs of torture.
“They walked into the compound and the manhole was still closed. Together with the DCI, they made pronouncements that the body had been found even before checking.

Her defence team has doubted that Ndegwa would not be independent in carrying out the exam, which would also reveal for about how long Cohen had been dead.
“A pathologist must be independent and make conclusions based on factual findings that can be verified,”the source said.
It is also said that the defence had issues with how the body was handled and identified and particularly was concerned that the widow was not present.
“Even before the body was unpacked from the clothes that covered it, they already concluded it was him. We are concerned that Sarah was not there to identify her husband,” the source said.
The defence team is understood to have insisted that Wairimu must be among those witnessing the postmortem.
“There is the issue of identification of the body. The team representing the lady in custody needs to be here… the lawyer is going to court either to pray that the suspect is here to identify the body or send somebody else,” pathologist Ndegwa told Journalists on Tuesday after the pre-postmortem conference at Chiromo Mortuary.
In attendance were the defence team, Wairimu’s independent pathologist Andrew Kanyi Gachii, Emily Rogena for the Cohen family and Cohen’s family lawyers Cliff Ombeta and Danstan Omari.
“We have agreed to move the exercise to tomorrow (Wednes- day) and it will be presided over by [Chief government pathologist Dr Johansen] Oduor who has been recalled from leave,” Ndegwa said.
The body was, however, sent for pre-postmortem X-rays at Kenyatta National Hospital on Tuesday.
Wairimu is in custody in connec- tion with Cohen’s disappearance and eventual murder, which DCI boss George Kinoti described as gruesome.
Wairimu, regarded as a prime suspect, will take a plea on Sep- tember 26. She denies she killed her husband who filed for divorce in court.
Cohen, 71, was reported miss- ing on July 19 with his phones switched off. DCI detectives failed to locate him. His body was found in an underground water tank at his Kitisuru home last week.
BY GORDON OSEN