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Puzzle of person of interest yet to write statement on Tob Cohen killing

By Kamau Muthoni | October 14th 2021


The Late businessman Tob Cohen [Courtesy]

Investigation into the murder of businessman Tob Cohen continues to deepen, with documents filed in court indicating that the DCI has not interrogated a senior police officer, a person of interest in the matter. At the same time, Cohen’s family has filed an application to remove Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Noordin Haji from office.

Cohen’s sister Hannah Van Straten filed the application before the Public Service Commission (PSC) through lawyer Danstan Omari.

When contacted over the petition to remove him from office, the DPP said he would wait to be served by PSC before making his formal response. The DPP has filed two letters in court to the Inspector General of Police Hillary Mutyambai, seeking to have the officer record a statement following revelations that Cohen allegedly claimed he was collaborating with his wife Sarah Wairimu Cohen.

Haji is pushing to have independent investigators revisit the case.

The first letter, written by the DPP on March 17, 2020, required the investigating officer to record a statement on allegations by Cohen and to state his relationship with Wairimu.

Haji also wanted to establish if the police officer was in communication with the widow, including one alleged to have taken place on July 30, 2019. The letter reads that the investigator ought to also clarify whether it was possible that Cohen could have died on July 19 or 20, 2019.

As per the letter, the investigator was supposed to trace all calls for Cohen and Wairimu, as well as obtain all email correspondences between Court of Appeal judge Sankale ole Kantai and the widow.

In documents before the court, the DPP argued that the gaps he had identified were not covered; leading him to conclude that there was insufficient evidence to charge the judge unless new information was obtained.

Early this month, Haji reminded the IG that the officer had not recorded the statement as had been directed in 2020. This time, the letter was also brought to the attention of the DCI boss George Kinoti.

“I am directed by the Director of Public Prosecutions to write in reference to the above matter in a letter dated March 17, 2020. We have noted from our records that the above directives were not carried,” Senior Assistant DPP Victor Mulwe wrote.

He asked the IG to ensure the officer records the statement and have it forwarded to him alongside a duplicate file sent on September 30.

In court, the DCI claims the DPP failed to prosecute Justice Kantai. However, Haji, in his case, says there were fatal gaps the DCI did not seal despite several reminders. On the other hand, the judge says he is a victim of a supremacy battle between the DPP and DCI.

Kantai’s lawyer Peter Wanyama argues that Kinoti is acting out of anger and defiance because Haji declined to charge him (Kantai) over Cohen’s murder for lack of evidence.   

While accusing sleuths of maligning the name of Haji in the media and blogs, the judge, in his arguments before Justice Anthony Mrima, said he had information that DCI officers intended to arrest him.

“My client is caught between two fighting giants. As part of the strategy by the second respondent (DCI), the entire affidavit was subjected to a comprehensive review by the media... and my client is being portrayed as a murderer who deserves to be charged.

“We’ll ask the court that the DPP be enjoined. They have written an affidavit which shows that they have gone rogue and they do not respect the DPP and want to prosecute the DPP in the media,” said Wanyama.

“We have seen that in the response of John Gachomo, we are replying to a threat. My client has been arrested before in the most dramatic manner and he is apprehensive. The DCI officers are looking for him.

“From the nature of this matter, there is a major supremacy war between the DPP who has cleared my client and DCI who is not happy with the decision,” he adds.

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