There is a possibility that Dutch billionaire Tob Cohen’s mobile phone did not leave Westlands in Nairobi on the day he disappeared, new revelations show, even as the government and the tycoon’s wife prepare for a legal showdown on Monday.
Discovery of the last location of his phone has further complicated the puzzle of whether the tycoon left Kenya in the first place, as initially claimed by his estranged wife Sarah Wairimu.
The Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) was on Friday allowed to detain Wairimu for three more days until Monday when a court in Kiambu will determine if the State can continue holding her for 14 days, as initially requested.
The court will also determine if the couple’s residence will be declared a crime scene as requested by the DCI.
Police Inspector Maxwell Otieno, from the homicide unit of the DCI, told the court that preliminary investigations showed that Mr Cohen may have been kidnapped.
“It’s highly probable that Cohen might have been kidnapped from his residence and taken by the respondent to an unknown place where the kidnap may have turned to murder,” argued Mr Otieno.
“Preliminary investigations established that the respondent coached some witnesses to give false testimony on the movement of Cohen,” the inspector told the court.
Wairimu is yet to be charged for the disappearance of her husband — whom police believe could be dead.
Mr Cohen has been missing for 40 days. It will be difficult for the police to sustain a murder charge against Wairimu unless Mr Cohen’s body is found.
Detectives are analysing calls, text messages and financial transactions from Wairimu’s mobile phone to ascertain if the people she communicated with in the days leading to Mr Cohen’s disappearance know anything about the saga.
Workers at the couple’s lavish residence in Kitisuru, Nairobi, have also been questioned. Police are questioning people who communicated with Wairimu from July 18 to 21, including a mysterious man who is said to be close to the tycoon’s estranged wife.
A YouTube video posted on August 10 by Wairimu, 20 days after her husband disappeared, is part of the evidence being analysed.
In the video, Wairimu paints her husband as a cruel man who abuses alcohol and substances.
“Tob is not a young man. He is going to be 70 soon. He is a chain-smoker and that is slowing him down. And for a long time Tob has been abusing substances. That is why, unknown to many, he had all this aggression and couldn’t handle situations,” she said.
Wairimu’s lawyer, Mr Philip Murgor, yesterday told media that his client posted the video in response to allegations against her about her husband’s disappearance.
“My client was overwhelmed by all the stuff that was coming to her without giving her a right of reply. She decided to make her side of the story known,” said Mr Murgor.
“We feel that there is this narrative that is being pushed to make my client look guilty because this thing is a divorce case about property.”
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