Wife of missing Nairobi millionaire says ‘unpredictable’ husband wanted divorce

By , K24 Digital
On Tue, 20 Aug, 2019 17:25 | 4 mins read
Tob Cohen’s wife, Sarah Wairimu Kamotho, 51, said her husband who has been missing for a month, was “safe wherever he is”. [PHOTO | K24 DIGITAL]
Tob Cohen’s wife, Sarah Wairimu Kamotho, 51, said her husband who has been missing for a month, was “safe wherever he is”. PHOTO | K24 DIGITAL
Tob Cohen’s wife, Sarah Wairimu Kamotho, 51, Tob Cohen’s wife, Sarah Wairimu Kamotho, 51, said her husband who has been missing for a month, was “safe wherever he is”. PHOTO | K24 DIGITAL

Dutch businessman Tob Cohen, who went missing on July 20, did not leave the country through any of the airports, the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) has confirmed. 

John Kariuki, director of Investigations Bureau at the DCI headquarters, said they are investigating his whereabouts.

“Investigations are underway to establish his whereabouts since we have confirmed he has not flown out of the country,” he said.

But his wife, Sarah Wairimu Kamotho, 51, who spoke to the People Daily, said her husband who has been missing for a month, was “safe wherever he is”.

“I have no doubt my husband is somewhere safe. I know him. We have been together for almost 30 years,” she said.

Wairimu, who spoke to the media for the first since the disappearance of Cohen, said in January he wanted a divorce and had contacted family lawyer Judy Thongori.

But when Wairimu contacted the lawyer, she only talked about the sale of their matrimonial home.

“She told me to remove the caveat so that we could sell our house. I had placed the caveat in 2016 after a Nairobi businessman told me he had been told we were selling our house.”

But lawyer Dunstan Omari, acting for Cohen, says: “The withdrawal letter was served to Judy Thongori’s law firm and they confirmed having received it. We got it from them but suspected that the signature could have been forged. We then forwarded the letter to the DCI to investigate its authenticity.

“Cohen is the person who can confirm if the letter is authentic. Again, that is the normal procedure of withdrawing cases at police stations. If we cannot confirm that Cohen travelled to Thailand as stated in the letter, then we should also doubt if he indeed wrote the letter,” said Omari.

Wairimu told People Daily in an interview that her husband was unpredictable and full of surprises.

On February 2, he said he was taking the day off and left at 6.30am carrying just a bottle of water.

“We did not know where he was going but I later learned he travelled to Othaya to check the house I was building at home. He took photos and told workers not to inform me,” said Wairimu.

In another incident in May, Cohen travelled to The Hague where his wife was attending their daughter’s pre-wedding function. Initially, he had said he would not travel because he had commitments in Nairobi.

“When we arrived at the registry at The Hague, we found him there. Even the staff in Nairobi did not know he had travelled out of the country,” she said.

Wairimu recounted the last moments preceding the disappearance.

“Cohen woke up on July 20 and said some lawyers were disturbing him but he did not have money. He said he had withdrawn an assault case at Parklands Police Station and written to the lawyer that he had decided to drop the divorce case,” she said.

He told her he was going to Thailand. “I asked if I could make accommodation arrangements but he said he was okay. He put on a pair of jeans trousers and a blue blazer and carried his weekend bag,” she added.

Wairimu said Cohen had always said he wanted to travel out of the country, and that she didn’t get worried when he failed to come back.

She has since recorded a statement with the police.

“After he said he wanted to divorce me, he was always making phone calls until the time he left on July 20. These people can offer crucial clues,” she said.

-First client-

Wairimu, a mother of a 32-year-old daughter, hails from Othaya, Nyeri.

She met Cohen in 1989 when she was working for Design Plus Ltd, an advertising agency for Philips, where Cohen was CEO.

In 1991, they formed their company, Tobs Limited. Their first big client was a Canadian firm contracted during the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (Cites) conference in Nairobi in 2000.

“It was the biggest job we had ever handled. We made good money that we used to buy the Kitisuru land,” she said.

In 2014, Cohen started developing what looked like mental issues.

“I informed his brother and sister in Holland that something was not right. He became forgetful, inconsistent and aggressive. Nobody took it seriously,” she said.

She added that Cohen was rarely physical and only assaulted her once.

“He would go crazy about how his eggs were fried,” said Wairimu, adding that she would contact family friends Ngengi Muigai and Chege Kirundi whenever there was trouble.

Lately, he had been trying to establish a medical tourism business in Thailand and had already got some contracts with some hospitals there, Wairimu said.

On December 24, the family went on  trip but he refused to join them. She was later informed the husband had brought in a man, only identified as Alex, who broke the family safe that contained title deeds and other confidential documents. He then called two police officers to arrest one of the domestic workers.

-Got concerned-

The following day, Christmas Day, Wairimu received a call from Spring Valley Police Station deputy commander.

“She asked me whether I had our title deed. I told her to ask my husband since I had been told he brought a man who broke the safe and emptied the contents.”

She said she started getting worried when Cohen started to come home late. “I got concerned about his safety,” she said.

Wairimu recalls one violent incident after a quarrel. “He hit me and I fell. Then I noticed he was bleeding from the forehead. I called a friend who took me to Gigiri Police Station where we reported the matter,” she said.

Cohen allegedly took photos of the injury and shared it with his lawyer and sister in Holland. He reported the matter at Parklands Police Station.

“Our relationship deteriorated. In May I travelled to Europe. He sent me a picture of our garden with a woman on the background. I asked him who she was. He never answered,” she said.