Sister of slain Dutch tycoon Tob Cohen wants his widow stopped from using his surname to identify herself in a court case that involves control of his estate estimated to be worth Sh700 million.
Ms Gabriel Hannah Van Straten is also opposed to the widow, Sarah Wairimu Kamotho Cohen, inheriting anything from the tycoon’s estate.
“At the outset, the court should recognise that Ms Kamotho is facing murder charges for the unlawful and premeditated murder of the late Tob Cohen and at the same time she is fighting viciously to inherit his property,” says Ms Straten in her court papers.
She argues that pursuant to Section 96 of the Law of Succession Act, her sister-in-law is not entitled directly or indirectly to any share in the estate.
In the court documents filed on Monday through lawyer Shradrack Wambui, Ms Straten has asked court to strike out a request lodged by the widow seeking to be granted the authority to administer the estate as the surviving spouse.
Alternatively, Ms Straten wants court to strike out the name ‘Cohen’ wherever it appears in the pleadings filed by Ms Kamotho to the extent that the name is used to make reference to her (Ms Kamotho).
“For the duration of time that she was married to Tob, she never adopted one of his names and hitherto, she has never by way of a deed poll opted to changing her name by adopting ‘Cohen’s’ name,” says Ms Straten in the fresh filings made at the family court.
The tycoon died in Nairobi on an unknown date between July 20 and September 13, 2019 and his widow is one of the accused persons facing murder charges. His remains were found inside an underground septic tank at his home in Lower Kabete.
Ms Straten says the couple had a strained relationship and at the time of his death, Tob was seeking a divorce.
“Thus the reference of herself as Sarah Wairimu Kamotho Cohen in the various applications filed before this court is only meant to confuse the court by obscuring the mind of the court and seeking unnecessary sympathy or empathetic treatment from court,” she says.
She also wants the court to compel the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) to release a report by way of an affidavit documenting the findings of its investigations relating to the authenticity of Tob’s will.
Ms Kamotho had claimed the will dated April 30, 2019 is a forgery and she has since informed court that she has the original document.
In the disputed will, she was left empty-handed with the tycoon distributing his wealth to his relatives namely Ms Straten, Seth Van Straten and Sharon Van Tienhoven Cohen in the ratio of 50 percent, 25 percent and 25 percent, respectively.
The wealth at the centre of the dispute is a Sh400 million home in the leafy suburb of Kitisuru, shares at Tobs Limited, a tour firm named Cohen Tours and Sh150 million cash in local and international banks.
Other properties are Tob's movable assets including his motor vehicle.
Ms Kamotho has on numerous occasions called to question the authenticity of the will for reasons including her exclusion as a beneficiary of the estate especially his house situated along Fahari Lane-Mugumoini Nairobi.
“In an affidavit dated October 14, 2021 she avers that the DCI confirmed the alleged will is a forgery through a replying affidavit sworn by one John Gachomo, a Senior Assistant Inspector General of Police and the Director Investigations Bureau on September 20, 2021,” says Ms Straten.
She adds that she has previously written to the DCI in pursuit of the truth of the matter and further in order to establish whether they are privy to the disputed will.
The case will be heard on June 27 and 28, 2022.