Like their forefathers, they landed in the country with the spirit of adventure, ready to explore and conquer the land and turn over a new leaf after retirement.
For most of them, their journey began with a visit to the Kenyan Coast and they ended up pitching tent after falling in love with the land and the beautiful Kenyan girls.
With a favourable investment climate, these retirees from Europe, Asia, Britain and Northern America decided to empty their bank accounts abroad and invest in Kenya and their newfound spouses.
With the little that remained of their pensions, they decided to lavishly entertain their spouses and friends, buying fancy cars and partying days on end in high-end clubs and villas at the white sandy beaches.
However, their beds of roses turned into thorns after their lovers and friends allegedly schemed against them and swindled all their hard-earned wealth, drying their coffers and leaving them broke in a twinkle of an eye.
Now, some of them live like paupers in the streets of Mombasa, Kwale, Kilifi and Lamu.
At the Mombasa Law Courts, civil cases on property disputes between these foreigners and their lovers are many. Some of the disputes have ended in most foul murders.
Tononoka Children’s Court is also full of child custody disputes, with foreigners being asked to pay millions of shillings for child support each month by their Kenyan estranged lovers.
The recent death of Wolfgang Fischer, a German, who reportedly shot himself at his house in Kibundani area of Diani, is one of the many tales of foreigners who have been swindled of their property and left broke.
Fischer left a suicide note, which detectives are now investigating to unravel the mystery surrounding his death.
He shot himself in the mouth, with the bullet exiting at the back of the head.
The 82-year old, who had been residing in Diani for the last 30 years, addressed the note to the Officer Commanding Diani Police Station. He protested a number of issues, including wrangles with his in-laws over property, his deteriorating health and how he lost prime plots to people he knew.
“The man alleged that he has not been happy for the last 30 years. He also mentioned that he has suffered a lot to prostate cancer and his efforts to seek medication failed due to financial constraints,” a police source told the Sunday Standard.
Close friends to the late Fischer, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the deceased had been struggling with depression.
“He was very distraught. I had tried several times to encourage him not to harm himself, but now he has done so,” said a friend who had known him for the last 10 years.
Pauper in Diani
Magne Stamens is another victim, who was once a millionaire but today is a pauper in Diani. He says he lost all his fortunes to his lover, who disappeared with the wealth.
Magne, who first jetted into Kenya in the 1960s, said the famous sandy beaches and warm temperatures made him love the coastal city.
He said his lover conned him of millions of shillings and left him with only clothes he wore on the fateful day.
Magne is a retired Norwegian engineer and former director in one of the leading civil engineering companies.
When he moved to Kenya, he says he shipped in all his belongings worth Sh6 million from Norway but they got stolen from his three-bedroom apartment.
Magne’s story is no different from that of German ex-soldier Paul Torf, who mysteriously disappeared from his home in Mwambao Bati village in Kwale County.
Torf, who then lived on an acre piece of land in Shimoni, was kidnapped on November 26, 2019 by five people in front of his family, never to be seen again.
The people said they were officials from the Immigration Department in Mombasa and they wanted to verify his documents.
He had been in the country for more than seven years, living with his wife and a six-year-old daughter.
Not far from his homestead, Torf had a vast prime land in Vikirini, Thwaka area with dairy cows and a farm for bananas and rovela plants.
He had initially resided in Mtwapa before relocating to Shimoni in mid-2016 where he settled with his wife.
Torf also ventured into the transport industry and fishing business.
His lover reported the matter of a missing person at Lunga Lunga Police Station under OB number 12/26/11/109, but later claimed that her husband was in Germany and was doing well.
The murder of a Dutch, Jacobus Van Der Goes, on January 5, 2016 is yet another case of foreigners losing their lives as a result of their wealth.
Jacobus was brutally murdered and his body dumped in a septic tank at his residence in Nyali, Mombasa.
Days later police arrested three suspects, including his gardener. The gardener was arrested after he made several cash withdrawals from Equity Bank in Mombasa and Kericho branches using the deceased’s ATM cards.
Jacobus was a retiree of the Dutch government and was living with the gardener before his murder. He had a palatial home, cars and cash, among other valuables.
In September 2017, a Swiss national was murdered and his body dumped in the Indian Ocean by unknown assailants.
Mocer Max had lived in Kenya for over 10 years in Mtwapa. According to the detective who was investigating the case, Max might have been killed due to his vast wealth.
A month before his murder, a Swiss couple had been killed and their bodies dumped on the roadside in Kiembeni, Kisauni Sub-county.
Werner Borner Paul, 60, and Marrianne Borner, 70, had just landed at Moi International Airport on the night of August 20, 2017 where they were picked by their driver. However, they were accosted when they were entering their compound.
In January 2020, a 78-year-old German tourist, Deterring Herman was found dead under unclear circumstances at his hotel room in Malindi town.
Herman had reportedly retired to bed with his girlfriend after a night party. The girlfriend disappeared, with the police citing her as the prime murder suspect.
In 2015, an Italian tourist, Cartei Paolo aged 57 killed himself by jumping from a four-storey building because of financial constraints.
Msambweni OCPD Joseph Omijah said Paolo was unable to support his wife and moved to his friend’s house and that a number of businesses he was running collapsed.
Another German, Frank Heinz-Karl, arrived in Kenya rich but ended up begging for food and a place to live.
In an earlier interview with KTN, he said he was swindled by a friend all his money. Heinz-Karl said he could not explain how he ended up trusting a stranger with all his money.
However, he is lucky to have had a return ticket and intervention by the State to facilitate his return home.