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The rich widow: Inside Sarah Wairimu-Cohen’s inheritance battle

Cohen was a rich man. He was a very sharp man with money- former Gatundu North MP Patrick Muiruri

Better Days: The late Tob and Sarah Wairimu Cohen.

By Undercover Reporter

Slain Dutch tycoon Tob Cohen had an eye for the unusual in business which made him a multimillionaire in real coin. “Cohen was a rich man. He was a very sharp man with money,” former Gatundu North MP Patrick Muiruri, a golfing buddy of more than 30 years and the last to play a round with him said.

His wife, murder suspect Sarah Wairimu, Cohen, was set to inherit not only  the high-end cars, their Sh400 million Kitisuru home, but also Cohen’s ventures in hospitality, golf safaris and medical tourism –which explains why she told detectives Cohen might have traveled to Thailand for treatment.

“He said he was taking a break. Lawyers were pushing him for money and he wanted to seek medical treatment,” offered Sarah, but less than two months later, Cohen’s 70 year old body was found inside a water tank in the compound of their home along Farasi Lane.

The other beneficiary could have been her daughter, Renee Chettle, who works for Shell in the Netherlands where she also in charge of Nominations and Engagements at the American Pentecostal Church in The Hague.   Renee was mentioned in the divorce suit as having been taught by her mother to disrespect him despite educating her from Oshwal Academy in Kenya to the Technical University of Delft, the Netherlands.

But alas! the inheritance windfall was put on the line via the imminent divorce suit Cohen had instituted with his lawyers. What is more, he had written a Will naming her sister, Gabrielle Van Straten, as the beneficiary. But during their marriage Cohen had sworn an affidavit granting Sarah a 50 percent stake in their Kitisuru home despite being the one named in the ownership documents.

Every murder has a cause, trigger and beneficiary

Now the will which was in the custody of Chege Kirindu, Cohen’s lawyer, revealed that since Cohen was not survived by any children, he left left 50 percent of his estate to his sister Gabrielle and the other 50 percent to be shared equally between his nephew and niece. Money in the bank also went to Gabrielle.

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Every murder has a cause, trigger and beneficiary. “It was a gruesome murder,” said DCI George Kinoti. “They took their time to kill him.”

Sarah Wairimu has since come to say she’s being framed for Cohen’s murder, and that besides being aberrant and difficulty to live, had no wealth worth dying for. However, a former sacked employee confessed to having been coached to lie about Cohen’s whereabouts on the day he disappeared on July 20.

The Sh400 million home in Kitisuru

Cohen built his millions not only in top marketing positions with diverse companies, but notably for Philips. He rose to CEO for East Africa in 1987, the year he came to Kenya. He quit after three years to make his fortunes in what was a virgin territory. Consider this: Kenya has more golf courses (over 40 including Ndumberi) than Fifa accredited stadiums-which are only two-Safaricom Stadium Kasarani and Nyayo National Stadium. Yet, golf is not a mass spectator sport like soccer.

Besides the disparities in facilities there is that, not so small matter, of prize money: The winning golfer at the 2019 Kenya Open pocketed Sh20.5 million-after four days in the office. But the team that wins the Kenya Premier League takes home Sh4.5 million which is earmarked for splitting among 23 players and about 10 officials and sidekicks (after 38 bruising matches-and injuries- in 365 days!

Golf was the sport to put his money in and millions would be teed off.

Towards that end, Cohen founded Tobs Golf Safaris & Events in 1991, a one of a kind golf tour and event company which rose to be in his own words “the undisputed market leader in golf safaris.”

Cohen was suspended for misbehavior, breaking club’s standing orders

Exploiting Kenya’s conducive golf weather, friendly people, sandy beaches, to die for game reserves and over 10 world class golf courses, Cohen courted Swiss, German and Dutch golfers through organizing international tournaments especially at Muthaiga Golf Club where Cohen was a director for four years to 2013-when he was suspended for misbehavior, breaking club’s standing orders.

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Tobs Golf Safaris spread to other countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, and in 2018, it won Bronze Trophy as the Best Golf Tour Operator in Africa during the 5th World Golf Awards in Murcia, Spain. He beat even South Africans who have better courses, higher ranked players and serious cash rewards.

Sarah Wairimu Kamotho joined Tobs Ltd as a 23 year old personal assistant, Cohen was a widower.  But shortly moved from the boardroom to the bedroom. They began dating, got married.

By the time of Cohen’s murder in July 2019, Sarah Wairimu owned 1 percent of Tobs Ltd-which for 28 years enjoyed little competition in its field.

When golfers came to Kenya for international tournaments Tobs Ltd had ready accommodation. Cohen was a director at Mayfair Hotel in Parklands Nairobi but which the investors later sold and it changed ownership and name to Southern Sun Mayfair Hotel. Sarah-Cohen though still had forays  in hospitality with a stalled hotel which is still under construction  in her home county of Nyeri, Central Kenya.

Kenyans preferred India, Thailand was the better medical destination

Tobs Ltd diversified its travel business on the back of lifestyle diseases afflicting many Kenyans who to India for treatment and by extension, medical tourism. But Tob Cohen, with his nose for business and experience in tourism exploited the little known fact that although Kenyans preferred India, Thailand was the better medical destination: It had more specialized hospitals accredited by the Joint Commission International (JCI) at 67 to India’s 37. Thailand thus received more medical tourists than India. Cohen lunged for the opportunity by founding Lotus Care Travel in September 2016. Lotus was the Referral Office in Kenya for four JCI Accredited facilities-the gold standard in healthcare. Kenya’s ambassador to Thailand Patrick Wamoto, was guest of honour during its launch in Bangkok, Thailand.

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Sarah Wairimu-Cohen is the Managing Director for Lotus Care Travel. While receiving treatment for your heart, diabetes, knee replacement or back pain problems at Samitivej Hospital, Lotus would also coordinate your check up and outpatient care such that they blended well with frolicking ion the islands of Phuket and beaches of Pattaya as well as visiting the cultural cities of Chiang Mai in the Golden Triangle.

Lotus Care Travel, from its offices in Lower Kabete Nairobi, dealt with well-heeled clientele out for concierge services and hustle free visa and travel experience to heal in a five star treatment package.

Every murder has a cause, trigger and beneficiary. Or beneficiaries. The windmill of the gods grind slowly, but surely, and the truth shall come to light in the fullness of time.

“These people are heartless. If its money, domestic issues you cannot treat someone that way,” said Kinoti.

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