Slain Dutch tycoon Tob Cohen was coerced into marriage, court told

Ms Gabrielle Hannah van Straten

Ms Gabrielle Hannah van Straten, a sister of the late Tob Cohen, and lawyer Danstan Omari at the High Court in Milimani, Nairobi on June 27, 2022.

Photo credit: Dennis Onsongo | Nation Media Group

Slain Dutch tycoon Tob Cohen was coerced into a marriage with Sarah Wairimu under Kikuyu customary rites to avoid being deported to the Netherlands, the High Court was told on Monday.

Cohen’s sister, Gabrielle Hannah van Straten, told Justice Murungi Thande that his brother’s “marriage to Ms Wairimu was forced”. She was testifying in a case challenging the validity of a Will prepared by lawyer Chege Kirundi.

“Besides Sarah, did your brother have another wife?” her lawyer Danstan Omari posed. “Yes, my brother had contracted two previous marriages with Dutch women. The first wife died,” Ms Hannah van Straten said.

She said none of the wives had any children with Cohen since “he had undergone a medical procedure at the age of 27 not to beget children.”

The judge heard that Cohen came to Kenya in 1987 as an employee before he started a business in 1989.

“My wealthy brother had developed real estate and had business ventures,” the deceased sister stated.

Ms Hannah van Straten said her brother “did not mention Ms Wairimu as one of the beneficiaries of his estate” in his Will. Justice Thande heard that in the Will, Cohen had allocated her 50 per cent of the estate and 25 per cent to her son Seth and 25 per cent to his niece Sharon.

The Will was opened and read in the presence of 24 people, among them former assistant minister Patrick Muiruri. 

Wealth distribution

She urged Justice Thande to determine the wealth distribution case.

“So far, the family has spent over €180,000 (Sh122 million) in getting justice done for our deceased brother,” Ms Hannah van Straten said.

While responding to defence lawyer Philip Murgor’s questions, Ms Hannah van Straten denied that she did not attend her brother’s burial since “all she was concerned with was to get his estate then fly back home”.

“I had to fly back home to attend to my son’s wedding. I had seen my brother’s body. Justice had begun to be done,” she said.

Cohen died in Nairobi between July 20 and September 13, 2019. Ms Wairimu is accused of killing the businessman. She is out on bond.

The body was recovered from a septic tank within his palatial residence.

Ms Wairimu claims the Will presented by Ms Hannah van Straten is a forgery but she maintains “it is a genuine”. Hearing continues.