Renee Chettle was left with a good education, society wedding and a good job at Shell
By Shifa Mwihaki
The late Dutch tycoon Tob Cohen took his step-daughter, Renee Chettle, to the best schools, but left her with no inheritance in his will. Renee is the daughter of Sarah Wairimu-Cohen, a suspect in his murder-and who was also left with neither cash nor property- in Cohen’s will.
Tob was killed in his house and his 71 year old body concealed in a septic tank where it lay for 55 days before it was discovered in September 2019. A manhunt for four men, believed to contracted killers are still being sought by detectives from the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI).
Sarah, was released and is out on bond. She had been arrested alongside Peter Karanja, the estranged husband of Gilgil MP Martha Wangari. Karanja has also been released on bond. Their cases were consolidated as the co-accused who were then charged afresh. They pleaded not guilty and were released on Sh2 million cash bail each.
But there has been a new twist in the murder case with the entry of a Judge, a wealthy heiress and entrepreneur and the roping in the first cousins of President Uhuru Kenyatta.
Recently, Court of Appeal Judge, Sankale ole Kantai, was arrested by DCI detectives as a Person of Interest in the murder of Tob Cohen.
Justice Sankale was arrested by sleuths from the DCI and questioned over “coaching” Sarah Cohen during the murder investigations. Justice Sankale, according to the DCI has more than passing interest in Sarah with whom there are traces of ‘bending her petticoat.’
Before his elevation to the Court of Appeal, Justice Sankale was a lawyer for the Cohens when Tob was alive and had business and other dealings with Sarah.
Their closeness dates 20 years back.
The manner in which Sarah Cohen was released from prison to become the first murder suspect in Kenya to attend the burial of a victim, besides gagging the media and threatening to sue the DCI left a trail indicative of someone in high level judicial connivance of which Justice Sankale ole Kantai is a person of interest.
Sankale has since been released on police bond in which no money is paid, rather, a suspect submits a written guarantee of being available at scheduled police dates.
On his police bond terms, Justice Sankale will be arraigned in court over “interfering with witnesses and conspiracy to defeat justice” contrary to the law.
Besides Sarah and Karanja, Justice Sankale will be the third person charged with the murder which DCI boss George Kinoti reckons his office has sustainable evidence against Sankale.
No judge in Kenya’s history has ever been charged with murder.
The other person of interest is Sarah’s friend, Nancy Kigwe Wettstein.
Nancy was an early entrepreneur in Kenya’s beauty industry. For ages she ran the high end Urembo Hair Salon and Pivot Point, a beauty college. Nancy is also a heiress to the Kigwe family fortune.
Kigwe Body Builders, her father’s outfit, was one of the most successful makers of matatu bodies in the 1980s through the 1990s before the family ventured into property and real estate, entertainment and ranching.
When her mother, Serah Mumbi Kigwe died on June, 20, 2002, Nancy was among the five daughters who inherited her Sh500 million plus worth of shares in Kisambi Investment Ltd which owned land in the thousands of acres.
Sarah filed documents in court demanding phone records of her late husbands friends including President Uhuru Kenyatta’s first cousins
The DCI officers interrogated Nancy in October last year owing to the constant communication from her cellphone to persons only known to the DCI officers while she was at Muthaiga Golf Club, where Tob Cohen also was, on the night he went missing and was later found murdered.
Last year, Sarah filed documents in court demanding three month old phone records including calls and messages of her late husbands friends. They include President Uhuru’s first cousins; Ngengi Muigai, the former Gatundu MP, his wife Wangui Ngengi and Ngengi’s elder brother, Captain Kung’u Muigai. She also demanded the same records from former Gatundu North MP Patrick Muiruri-who was among the last people to hang out with Cohen having played a round of golf at the Vet Lab sports club in the week he disappeared.
Sarah had earlier accused DCI boss George Kinoti of sending officers to her house in Farasi Lane, Kitisuru where they carted away among others; her clothes, cars, shoes, electronics, dogs and some items belonging to her daughter-who was excluded from Cohen’s will alongside her mother. She also demanded Kinoti’s three month old phone records but did not elaborate the purpose. The court later allowed her to collect her clothes, beauty items, pets and drinks but not the car.
Tob Cohen bequeathed all his properties including his Sh400 million Kitusuru home, cash and shareholding of his companies to his sister, brother and children of his sister. The Kitisuru home was to be shared out 50-50 between Tob’s sister, Gabrielle Strutten and her two children.
We will fight all the way to the Supreme Court
Of the house, Wairimu, through lawyer Philip Murgor said “If our rights to the matrimonial home are in any way affected, we will fight all the way to the Supreme Court.”
Tob left all his shares in his golf tour company and medical travel firm to his sister Gabrielle who would also take over Sh100 million cash held in local and international banks. Tob let his brother Bernard Sh50 million in a Dutch bank.
will was mute on Tob’s liabilities which could include the Sh35 million two
politicians extended to him as soft loans. His financial woes were such that he
contemplated selling the Kitisuru home, according to his golfing buddies at
Muthaiga Golf Club in Nairobi and the Vet Lab Golf Club where he played what
was his last round of golf, a sport that made him a millionaire a hundred times
Renee can take consolation that she relocated to the Netherland, his step-father’s home country where she works for Shell. She is also churchy. At the American Pentecostal Church in The Hague, Renee is in charge of Nominations and Engagements.
Sarah grabbing a microphone from Tob during daughter’s wedding
Renee was adversely mentioned in the divorce suit pitting Cohen and Wairimu. Cohen stated that Sarah had taught Renee to disrespect him despite educating her from Oshwal Academy in Kenya to the Technical University of Delft, the Netherlands.
It was during Renee’s wedding at their Kitisuru home where one guest, former Gatundu North MP Patrick Muiruri, Tob’s golfing buddy recalled Sarah grabbing a microphone from Tob when he was about to say something as the step-father.
Wairimu, who declared he had signed an affidavit for a 50 percent of their Kitisuru home after they were legally married revealed he will challenge the will in court-and was missing in action when it was read out by Tob Cohen’s lawyer, Kirundi Chege.
Murgor said was Wairimu also entitled to a share of her slain husband’s company’s monies as she was also a shareholder and that “a will is not cast on stone. This is a battle royale that is shaping up.”
A gardener, a cook and Personal Assistant are among witnesses lined up the police to testify and have since been put under the Government witness protection unit for their personal security.