The wife of missing Dutch national now wants to overturn a ruling that detained her

Sarah Wairimu with her lawyer Philip Murgor in the dock at a Milimani court. [George Njunge/Standard]
The wife of missing Dutch businessman Tob Cohen has appealed against her detainment pending investigations.

Through her lawyer Philip Murgor, Sarah Wairimu yesterday filed an application before High Court judge Daniel Ogembo saying that the decision to detain her was illegal.

Murgor wants the court to release her on either bail or bond pending the investigations.

“The arraignment of the applicant before court without any charge or holding charge being preferred against her is in breach of her fundamental right to liberty and freedom as provided by the Constitution,” Murgor said in court.

The lawyer told the court that on September 2, Kiambu Chief Magistrate Patricia Gichohi delivered a ruling in which she misdirected herself in finding that there were sufficient grounds on which his client should be remanded for 12 working days.

He argued that no evidence was presented before the court to prove that Wairimu was a flight risk before detaining her.

Murgor said without justifiable reasons necessitating the continued detention of Wairimu, the notice of investigating officer does not make sense and has led to the illegal detention.

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“We kindly seek the review of the process of investigations because the continued detention will make her feel the weight of being in custody and she is a law abiding citizen,” Murgor said.

He said the Directorate of Criminal Investigation (DCI) boss and his team have not secured the home of Wairimu as a crime scene, and asked the court to release her forthwith from police custody without any conditions pending the hearing and determination of the said application.

Murgor argued that a suspect has a right to be arraigned and charged and should not be held for more than 24 hours.

He said the police have failed to provide information they hold against Wairimu as required by law.

Justice Ogembo, however, directed the prosecution to respond to the application today.

On Monday, Kiambu magistrate granted the police 12 more days to continue detaining Wairimu.

In her ruling, Gichohi said the DCI had given compelling reasons to have Wairimu detained at Muthaiga Police Station to enable detectives complete investigation into the disappearance of the businessman.

Wairimu was arrested on August 29 after the police picked and interrogated her for the third time over the disappearance of Cohen on July 19, 2019, from their Lower Kabete home in Nairobi.

Cohen has not been heard from since, despite police mounting a search for him, including checking if he could have left the country.

Earlier, police said they have no clue on what happened to the golf lover who had an ongoing divorce case in court, and had filed assault claims against his wife of 12 years.

In an affidavit, investigating officer Maxwell Otieno of the DCI homicide section had told the court that Wairimu was arrested following investigations into the disappearance of Cohen.

Otieno said preliminary investigations established Wairimu coached some potential witnesses to give false testimony. He said the witnesses later recanted their statements and gave the true version of what transpired.

“We have interrogated Wairimu twice at her home and three times at the DCI headquarters. But all this time, we were not treating her as a suspect. But as we gathered more information, that is when we arrested her and she is a suspect in the disappearance of her husband,” Otieno told the court.

DCI says Cohen was apprehensive about his life and shared with some of his close friends threats he said were issued by Wairimu.

Otieno said it was highly probable Cohen was kidnapped from his home by Wairimu and associates and taken to an unknown place.

The detective told the court he needed time to investigate letters allegedly authored by Cohen and addressed to advocate Judy Thongori, OCS Parklands, OCS Spring Valley and OCPD Gigiri, which were later found to be forgeries.

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Dutch businessman Tob CohenTob CohenMissing businessman Tob CohenSarah Wairimu