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Tob Cohen widow fights for home, dogs and Porsche

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The widow of murdered tycoon Tob Cohen, who was left empty-handed by her husband in his will, has launched a fresh fight for a Sh500 million home in Nairobi’s Kitisuru, a Porsche and two dogs.

Sarah Wairimu Kamotho has made a fresh application before the High Court arguing that she is entitled to half of the matrimonial home that is currently guarded by police as a crime scene.

The police, she says, have refused to grant her access to the home because they want to hand it over to Mr Cohen’s siblings.

“In violation of Article 40 of the Constitution and in abuse of the powers of their state offices, the respondents have continued to hold the petitioner’s jointly owned matrimonial property on the false pretense that it is a crime scene and maliciously allowed the petitioner’s home to fall into waste and destruction by taking no steps whatsoever to maintain and preserve the property an all the contents,” she says.

Ms Kamotho, who has jointly been charged with businessman Peter Karanja, with the murder of the golf organiser in July last year, also wants the court to compel the police to release her Porsche Cayenne, KBW 171 G, which she claims is her personal property and not Mr Cohen’s.

She says the police claimed that the vehicle was connected to the crime but the real intention is to hand it to Mr Cohen’s siblings.

Also sought is the release of two pet dogs named Major and Snow, which are being kept at the Kenya Society for the Protection and Care of Animals in Karen.

In the petition certified as urgent by High Court judge James Makau, Ms Kamotho through her lawyer says she wants to move into the house to avoid further wastage due to lack of maintenance, theft and possible vandalism.

Justice James Makau directed Ms Kamotho’s lawyer, Philip Murgor, to serve Director of Criminal Investigations (DCI) boss George Kinoti, Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Noordin Haji and the Attorney-General with the court papers within five days.

The house is under control of the police after the High Court ruled it was a crime scene.

Ms Kamotho has also accused the police of derailing the progress of the succession case pending in court, violating her rights.

She says the police have refused to give an undertaking that they will not interfere with or hand over her personal property and the house to Mr Cohen’s siblings.

Alternatively, Ms Kamotho wants the police and DPP to make an undertaking or give a bank guarantee for costs and damages arising from wastage, damage and neglect.

She is accusing the police of failing to provide a comprehensive inventory of all the property taken with the sole intention of handing the property to Cohen’s sister Gabrielle Van Straten, a nephew and niece.

In the succession case, Ms Kamotho is seeking to stop the transfer of the properties to Mr Cohen’s siblings.

The murdered tycoon did not leave any of his property and money to his widow Sarah.

Mr Cohen gave their Sh500 million matrimonial home, which has been the centre of the dispute, to his sister Gabrielle Van Straten and her children.

He also willed 50 per cent of his estate to Gabrielle, 25 per cent to her two daughters and another 25 per cent to his elder brother Bernard Cohen.

Ms Kamotho said her co-accused, Mr Karanja, made an application for the release of his vehicle and the application was allowed but in her case, the police have opposed the discharge of the Porsche.

Ms Kamotho was arrested on August 28, last year after the disappearance of her husband and detained for several days. Mr Cohen’s body was retrieved from a disused water tank at his home in Kitusuru more than 30 days after his disappearance.

She said the police cooked the evidence to implicate her in the murder.

In January, High Court judge Stella Mutuku allowed her a limited access to the home to pick her clothes, shoes, handbags, grooming tools and wearable items.

The court, however, rejected her application for removal of all police officers stationed at the home and for the police release of the two dogs to her.

Mr Cohen had lived in Kenya for more than 30 years, holding various positions including that of the CEO of Philips Group of Companies East Africa.

The case will be mentioned on November 30.

by BD


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Courts

Willy Mutunga’s former wife loses bid to revive divorce suit

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Former Chief Justice Willy Mutunga’s ex-wife Beverle Michaele Lax (pictured) has lost a bid to revive a divorce appeal she filed against him in 2015.

The Court of Appeal had initially dismissed Lax’s appeal against a High Court divorce ruling for her lawyer’s failure to pursue it.

She, however, went back, saying her lawyers never informed her that the case was coming up.

But Court of Appeal Judges Asike Makhandia, Jamilla Mohammed and Sankale ole Kantai found that her conduct, while the appeal was pending, did not persuade the court to intervene.

According to the judges, Lax filed a separate case to dissolve the same marriage at a San Mateo County Court in California, US, and never informed the Kenyan court about it.

The court observed that the High Court had finally dissolved the marriage, hence her appeal had been overtaken by events.

“We cannot fathom the reason(s) for this action. Be that as it may, it does again point to the applicant as a person without candour. What the applicant is seeking from this court is really the exercise of discretion,” the judges ruled.

The court found that if Lax was discussing with her lawyers about their pay, they must have informed her about the appeal.

Lax told the court that she came to learn about the dismissal of her case in November last year when she temporarily visited Kenya. She narrated that she only managed to peruse the file on January 24, 2020 and could not have attended court as she was unwell.

She said her then lawyers failed to inform her that if she did not pay their legal fees, they would not attend the court sessions.

“There is no doubt that the applicant was in constant communication with her counsel who were irksome in demanding their legal fees and we therefore find it difficult to believe that she was not informed of the hearing date,”  the judges ruled.

Mutunga opposed her application and told the court he filed a divorce case against Lax in 2009. According to him, the court gave its judgement on July 26, 2012.

Aggrieved with the High Court’s decision, Mutunga said his ex-wife filed an appeal on September 18, 2015, but the case did not proceed out of her delaying tactics.

He explained that when the case came up for hearing on November 18, 2015, Lax sought for Deputy Chief Justice Philomena Mwilu, who was then a Court of Appeal judge, to withdraw from the bench that was hearing the case.

By Standardmedia.co.ke


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Courts

Mombasa lawyer loses Sh20 million to ‘mganga hatari’

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A Mombasa lawyer charged with stealing Sh20 million from his client told a court the money was swindled by a mganga from Tanzania. Witchdoctor

Musa Ngare Aziz told Senior Principal Magistrate Francis Kyambia that he contracted a Mr Mohammed, a witch doctor, to help him sell red mercury reportedly valued at over Sh100 million. The mercury was purportedly in the possession of a woman identified as Sarah from Samburu.

Mohammed took Aziz through ritual including meeting with ‘invisible sheikhs’ in dark caves in Mombasa, besides other rituals in Tanzania to help in selling the mercury to increase his fortunes.

But it was the beginning of his financial drain, physical torture and death threats, said Aziz, who confessed to his parents after recovering from a road accident that, “I had been conned a lot of money mainly belonging to my clients.”

Aziz said a friend introduced him to Sarah as a client in need of legal services to sell mercury. Sarah in turn, introduced him to the mganga ostensibly after failing to find a buyer. Since the deal was purportedly worth Sh105 million, a lawyer was needed. Aziz was taken to a house in Kisauni belonging to a woman identified as Mama Agnes.

“I went to verify the mercury, Agnes poured it on a razor blade and it turned black and while my friend’s blue pen turned red,” Aziz told the court.

“However, Sarah claimed to have seen a snake in the mercury and was told by elders that only Mohamed could help because there was something bad halting the transaction, which needed cleansing,” Aziz narrated.

He added that he used his own and client’s money for Mohammed’s costly rituals for which he was brought before the court charged with stealing Sh20 million belonging to his client, Majid Rashid Abdalla, on diverse dates between October 6 and 27, 2015.

The police haven’t arrested Mohammed or the ‘invisible sheikhs’ as they apparently are afraid of venturing into the dark caves.

Aziz told the court that the invisible sheikhs asked for a bag, which disappeared but was returned full of cash equivalent to Sh105 million – the value of the mercury. The bag was then closed and keys handed to Aziz to open once the sheikhs secured a buyer for the mercury.

He said Mohamed had asked him and his team to bring with them Sh20,000 as entry fee into the cave and a big bag. He was told to place Sh300,000 in the four corners of the bag totalling Sh1.2 million.

He said that voices demanded the bag, which disappeared and when it returned, it was full of cash equivalent to Sh105 million.

The invisible sheikhs then demanded a second bag stashed with 1.5 million on each corner but when Aziz returned to the cave with the bag containing $60,000 (Sh6 million), the sheikhs were not impressed. They reportedly threatened and tortured Aziz, who was warned against going to work and was fined Sh100,000.

Every Thursday, Mohammed demanded Sh80,000 to feed the invisible sheikhs with camel meat. He gave Mohamed the cash directly or took it to the caves himself or through his friend. Aziz also catered for Mohamed’s travels from Tanzania and accommodation in Nyali during the entire duration of the rituals in Mombasa.

Aziz promised to reimburse the money in instalments. Hearing is set for Nov 25.

by Standardmedia.co.ke


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Courts

Man to be charged for telling police he’d been robbed

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A man will be arraigned today at the Kibera Law Courts for giving false information to police officers.

Mr Richard Muriuki is accused of lying to the police that he had been robbed at the Nyayo Stadium roundabout in Nairobi.

According to the DCI, on the night of October 20, 2020, Muriuki made a robbery with violence report at the Langata Police Station claiming that occupants of a car that had rammed into his, stole from him.

“Muriuki had reported that a white Nissan had hit his Toyota Fielder at the Nyayo Stadium roundabout along Mombasa road, forcing him to stop. It is at this point he alleged that three men, one brandishing a knife jumped out of the Nissan, confronted him, and took off with his vehicle,” DCI said in a statement on Twitter.

It later emerged that the entire report was a hoax since investigations revealed that on the day, Muriuki hit the said Nissan and fled the accident scene.

His vehicle was towed to Industrial Area Police Station for causing obstruction and detectives managed to track it down.

Muriuki was not robbed as he alleged and will be arraigned for giving false information to a public officer contrary to section 128 (a) of the penal code, the DCI said.

Elsewhere, police are seeking information on two suspects wanted for bank fraud.

DCI on Wednesday said it is pursuing Gerald Gatheru Mwai and Gladys Mwara Kamau, following a warrant of arrest issued by a Nairobi court last month.

Occupants of a car that had rammed into his, stole from him.

“Any person with information that may lead to their arrest to contact DCI headquarters – ECCU section, the nearest Police station, call or SMS 0773004776,” DCI said.

Cases of bank fraud and cybercrimes are not new as criminals become cannier by the day.

A report released in August 2020 identified Kenya being among countries where transnational criminal organisations operate.

Last October, DCI officers arrested three people among them a prison constable- Charles Opollo Ndaga. They were found in possession of over 10,000 Sim Cards, four mobile phones and a laptop.

In the same month, two Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) students were charged at the Milimani Law Courts for stealing Sh25 million from NCBA Bank. They were also accused of attempting to steal an additional Sh190.7 million from the same bank.

The two were released on a Sh500,000 cash bail each. So expansive is the syndicate who even operate outside the country.

by Standardmedia.co.ke


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