Shocker: Will shatters Cohen billionaire myth, widow left with nothing

The late Dutch businessman Tob Cohen with wife Wairimu [Photo: Courtesy]

The late Dutch businessman Tob Cohen did not leave any property or cash to his widow Sarah Wairimu according to the Will opened yesterday, Saturday Standard can reveal.

Cohen, bequeathed his property estimated to be worth Sh700 million, which includes the Kitusuru home, cash and shareholding of his companies to his sister, brother, and children of his sister.

In a dramatic shift to the unraveling drama, Wairimu will not get a single coin from the slain husband. The Will was made in April at the height of their divorce and is said to have revoked any other Will done before that.

Highly placed sources familiar with the Will, which was read yesterday said Cohen’s sister Gabrielle Straten has been bequeathed 50 percent of the Kitusuru home.

The remaining 50 per cent has been shared out between Gabrielle's two children.

Each of the children will receive 25 percent of the home estimated to be valued at Sh400 million. All the shares held by Cohen in his companies which includes a tour firm Cohen Tours will be taken over by Gabrielle.

She will also take over Sh100 million cash stashed in local and international banks. The brother, Bernard has been gifted Sh50 million in a Dutch bank.

The content of the Will unfurled by lawyer Kirundi Chege proved a bitter pill for Wairimu who immediately declared she would challenge it in court. Her lawyer Philip Murgor promised a “battle royale” to invalidate its contents in so far as it dispossessed her.

 “If our rights to the matrimonial home are in any way affected, we will fight all the way to the Supreme Court,” Murgor said.

Lawyer Chege Kirundi (centre), Tob Cohen`s brother Benard Cohen and sister Gabriele Cohen [Photo: Collins Kweyu, Standard]

A Dutch newspaper had last week claimed that Gabrielle and Bernard were the major beneficiaries of Cohen’s estate. The paper claimed Cohen had bequeathed to his siblings the Sh400 million property in the leafy suburb of Kitusuru.

The opening of Cohen’s Will yesterday also came with other surprises. Among them is the acclaimed billionaire status of the man. Besides the asset portfolio in the Will amounting to around Sh500 million, a number of creditors were swirling around Kirundu’s law firm.

Among them are two politicians, both friends of the late Cohen. They claim he owed them at least Sh35 million.

Yesterday, Murgor said Wairimu was entitled to the matrimonial home and that any attempts to hand over the property to any other person would be challenged in court.

Murgor said his client was also entitled to a share of the proceeds of the company’s monies as she was also a shareholder.

“A Will is not cast on stone. This is a battle royale that is shaping up,” Murgor said.

At the Bruce house offices of lawyer Kirundi, Gabrielle and the brother Bernard declined to share with the media the contents of the Will. Wairimu’s side did not attend the ceremony.

Sarah Wairimu Kamotho at the Milimani law courts. [Photo: George Njunge, Standard]

Not tampered with

The lawyer also despite being hard-pressed by journalists, declined to reveal details such as when the Will was drawn. He insisted that the Will had not been tampered with as claimed by Murgor. “This will has not leaked to any person since it was sealed, I want to confirm that any allegation that this will has been leaked is not true,” he said.

Journalists sought to know from either Kirundi or Cohen’s family why they had shared information of the Will with the Dutch newspaper. They both declined to comment.

“Whoever has been writing has not quoted this law firm as having released any information,” Kirundi said. 

Murgor, on the other hand, maintained that the reading of the Will was flawed and explained that this was the reason why he gave yesterday’s opening of the seal a wide berth.

Lawyer Cliff Ombeta who is representing the Cohen family was present. Ombeta, in his address to journalists at the offices of Kirundi and Co-advocates, said they had invited Murgor to witness as the Will was read to the family.

He said the decision by Murgor not to attend the event was a sign that the Will would be challenged in court.

“If he (Murgor) has an issue with the Will let him challenge it at a later date,” said Ombeta.

Among those who witnessed the unsealing of the Will were Cohen’s sister Gabrielle and brother Bernard who are said to be the major beneficiaries.

Former Gatundu North MP Patrick Muiruri was also present. The Cohen murder probe has received international attention since the day he went missing until last Friday when DCI chief George Kinoti announced the recovery of the body in an underground water tank in his Kitusuru home.

Gabrielle will not attend the burial of his brother as she left the country last evening. Bernard has stayed behind to witness the final rites of his elder brother.


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