Tob Cohen’s will released to family as widow, lawyer snub event

Friday September 20 2019

The family of slain businessman Tob Cohen - Bernard (left), lawyer Chege Kirundi and sister Gabrielle Van Straten - hold a press conference concerning the reading of his will, at Bruce House, Nairobi, on September 20, 2019. The will has been opened. PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE | NATION MEDIA GROUP


Slain businessman Tob Cohen’s will was opened Friday in the presence of his family members and friends in an event that was boycotted by his widow’s lawyer.

Details of the document drawn in April at a time Cohen and his wife Sarah Wairimu had initiated divorce proceedings were not immediately available.

Lawyer Chege Kirundi, who had been the custodian of the will, had earlier told the media that the contents will remain private unless Cohen’s family ordered otherwise.

“We will not discuss any details contained in the will at this time,” said Mr Kirundi. “The details will be in public domain when this matter comes up for probate hearing.”

Lawyer Cliff Ombeta, representing his sister Gabrielle Van Straten, said Ms Wairimu’s lawyers were invited to the event but declined under instructions from their client.

“We invited Sarah but she has not come. We have waited for them for long but they have not come nor sent a representative,” the lawyer said.



The late Cohen’s family — Gabrielle and her brother Bernard — refused to speak to the press at Mr Kirundi’s office.

Cohen has left money in bank accounts, shares in various companies and immovable property.

Mr Philip Murgor, Ms Wairimu’s lawyer, had on Friday said they would not attend as the “confidential nature of the will… has been severely compromised”.

He accused the late Cohen’s lawyer and family of acting in bad faith. “The opening of the will when she is in custody was an act of bad faith and more so when there were already leakages on what the will contained,” said Mr Murgor.

According to the lawyer, Ms Wairimu intends to fight any attempt to disinherit what legally belongs to her.

“All I can say, and I had this from her yesterday, is that if there is an attempt to interfere with her property rights in her matrimonial home or even in the company, she will fight it in court all the way to the Supreme Court.

"If anyone has a claim on that house that is superior, comparable or legal to Sarah’s, it is them that need to go to court,” the lawyer said.


A copy of an affidavit jointly sworn by Cohen and Ms Wairimu on May 18, 2007 reportedly shows that the two jointly owned their house in Kitisuru.

“By virtue of our marriage, the aforesaid plot is jointly ours and each party has an equal right or claim over the same,” reads clause 8.

Based on that affidavit, Mr Murgor says that even if Cohen was to give out his claim over the property, Ms Wairimu would still remain with 50 per cent.

The opening of the will happened on the same day Ms Wairimu made a unique and rare application for a murder suspect to be escorted from remand prison to attend the burial rites of her deceased husband.

Lady Justice Jessie Lesiit is expected to rule on the application on Monday, the same day Cohen’s body will be interred, according to Jewish burial rites.

Report by Walter Menya, Richard Munguti, Hellen Shikanda and Brian Ambani