In Summary
  • One of the suspects in custody has told police that he had been given a contract to build a small house on top of the tank — to perpetually seal the site.
  • On August 3, Mr Karanja was advised by Ms Wairimu to switch off his two phones — and “buy mulika mwizi” since detectives were on his trail.

Dutch tycoon Tob Cohen’s body was not supposed to be found — not until top forensic experts started to piece together the story and wade through the web of lies, concocted stories, half-truths, and pretence.

The Daily Nation can today exclusively reveal how the detectives managed to unwrap the riddle of the missing tycoon leading to the discovery of his body on Friday afternoon — some 55 days after he was alleged to have flown to Bangkok, Thailand, to seek medical attention.

Mr Cohen’s killers thought they had covered their tracks well, and that they had a perfect alibi.

At his Kitisuru home, the cast-iron manhole cover for the rectangular underground water tank was well sealed with cement — and a heavy water boiler put on top like a blank grave marker.

A garden stone sculpture of a leopard, knocked to the ground, lay nearby on its side.

Some of the trees in the neatly laid compound had been pruned and the dry twigs piled on top of the emptied underground tank to naively hide where the body of the Nairobi-based golf tycoon was supposed to rot in the exclusive Nairobi suburb.

EVIDENCE

One of the suspects in custody has told police that he had been given a contract to build a small house on top of the tank — to perpetually seal the site.

Cohen, 71, had built the fresh water tank, under a giant bamboo plant, to store rain water to irrigate his well-manicured lawns — and for use at his impressive sky-blue and white colour bungalow where he lived with his former secretary-turned wife, Sarah Wairimu — whom police have placed at the scene of crime.

It was also the headquarters of his specialised golf tours company, Tobs Kenya Golf Safaris Limited.

Ever since Cohen vanished on the night of July 19 and 20, his estranged wife had maintained to her inquisitive friends and unrelenting investigators that the one-time chief executive officer of Dutch conglomerate Phillips East Africa had left home on the afternoon of July 20 and flown to Thailand to seek medical treatment.

“It was a story she had made up,” says Mr Patrick Kariuki Muiruri — the last person who played a four-ball golf match with Cohen at the Vet Lab golf course in Kabete on July 15.

Mr Muiruri, a former Gatundu North MP, had been Cohen’s friend for the last 30 years.

Evidence now with the police indicates that on the morning of July 19 — and on the day the water tank was emptied, Ms Wairimu placed a call to Peter Njoroge Karanja — the estranged husband of Gilgil MP Martha Wangari.

PHONE TRACKING

Both Mr Karanja and Ms Wairimu were going through divorce proceedings over domestic violence at the High Court in Nairobi. They were also alleged to be lovers.

Mr Karanja, who was then in Gilgil town, told police that he drove his Subaru, registration number KCF 356T, for the two-hour drive after he was summoned by Ms Wairimu.

For what? “Business,” he told detectives.

By using the phone tracking technology, the two forensic experts assigned to the case found that Mr Karanja then called and picked another man in Naivasha and the two drove to Nairobi together.

Police are now hunting for this suspect who is on the run.

At around 10am, after a series of phone calls to Ms Wairimu and which were easily tracked, the three converged at a well-known restaurant in Westlands for a breakfast meeting.

They were captured on CCTV. The bill was paid by Ms Wairimu who left in a hurry.

Later on, the two men had a meeting with the daughter of a late Cabinet minister from Mt Kenya region and they ate lunch together at another popular restaurant.

It was paid by the woman (name withheld), who is also being sought for interrogation.

ASSAULT CHARGES

At about 2.30pm, and after meeting the prominent politician’s daughter, Mr Karanja called Ms Wairimu, and he is captured by road cameras driving towards Naivasha through Waiyaki Way.

That morning, July 19, in a day of drama, a frightened Tob Cohen had gone to Parklands Police Station to follow up on the investigation into assault charges he was pressing against Ms Wairimu.

With the arrival of police, Ms Wairimu is alleged to have locked herself in the bedroom and called officers from the nearby Spring Valley Police Station to rescue her.

“She told them her home had been raided by gangsters,” an informant told Daily Nation.

By the time the Spring Valley police arrived — their counterparts from Parklands had left and with instructions from their boss: both Cohen and Ms Wairimu should be taken to court that coming Monday, July 22, since each had a P3 form — a police chit that acts as evidence that a violent act occurred and is admissible in court as evidence.

A few days earlier, Cohen had also written to the Inspector General of Police and to the Director of Public Prosecutions alleging that police officers from Parklands Police Station had failed to arrest Ms Wairimu, but instead wanted to press charges against him.

“ … Aimed not only at soiling his reputation but also having him deported from Kenya so that his properties become free and available to Sarah Wairimu Kamotho and her accomplices,” a letter from Cohen’s lawyer, Mr Danstan Omari, read.

SARAH IN DANGER

The story had been picked by various news outlets and Ms Wairimu had sent the links to Mr Karanja on the morning of July 19. Why? Nobody knows.

Mr Karanja’s version of the story is that after the morning meeting with Ms Wairimu and on his way back to Naivasha and near Limuru town, he was asked to drive back to Mr Cohen’s home since Wairimu’s life was in danger.

Mr Karanja told detectives that he reached Cohen’s home at 4pm and they found a wealthy former Nairobi county government official — who had driven in a Lexus. In the compound were four policemen who had come to arrest Cohen.

After the Spring Valley police officers left on the afternoon of July 19, and without arresting Cohen — detectives were told that he was “very angry, annoyed and disturbed.”

He entered his Mercedes car, registration number KAD 858S, and drove to Muthaiga Golf Club, where he was a member — and started drinking.

Mr Karanja told detectives that after Cohen left, he drove out with his friend and he headed back to Naivasha where he dropped off his friend at a hotel.

SKETCHY DETAIL

He then drove to another Naivasha restaurant, but before he settled down, he got a call from Ms Wairimu. The time was now 8pm.

“He was asked to return to Nairobi urgently,” a detective familiar with the interrogation says.

Alone, Mr Karanja reached Nairobi at around 10.30pm. But rather than drive to Cohen’s home — he told police that he drove to Parklands Sports Club, took a computer bag and walked outside to look for a taxi. Why? Nobody knows.

The man, now in police custody, told detectives that upon reaching Cohen’s house at about 11.15pm — the gate was opened by an “unknown man”.

He told police that he entered the house through the kitchen door and sat in the TV room, took tea with Ms Wairimu and had “a 30-minute business discussion”.

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