Cohen burial moved to today after no-show by two priests

Tuesday, September 24th, 2019 00:00 |
Tob Cohen’s family lawyers Danstan Omari, Wakimaa Kimani (second right), Cliff Ombeta (right) and Cohen’s brother Bernard Cohen (centre) address the press outside the Jewish Cemetery in Nairobi, yesterday. Photo/PD/GERALD ITHANA

Kinyuru Munuhe and Nancy Gitonga

The planned burial of murdered Dutch tycoon Tob Cohen will be held today afternoon after two Jewish religious priests were unavailable to make the mandatory 10 needed for the ceremony, in accordance with the Jewish religious practices. 

The burial was postponed at the last minute despite all other necessary arrangements having been put in place, including the physical presence of Cohen’s remanded wife Sarah Wairimu and the deceased’s brother Bernard Cohen. 

Two additional priests and a Chief Rabbi to perform the burial rites confirmed they would be available today at 2.30pm  

No monkey business

“This is a contest between the African Kenya customs versus the Jewish customs. There is the way they do it. A brother buries a brother. Bernard, the brother to my good friend Cohen is here to be in charge.

Cohen will be buried tomorrow (today) at 2.30pm. There will be no monkey business. This was an anomaly occasioned by religious practices. Ten priests and a Rabbi must be present,” Cohen’s family lawyer Danstan Omari said.

One Rabbi was yesterday afternoon travelling from Kisumu to Nairobi while the other flew from Mombasa to Nairobi. 

Wairimu’s lawyer Philip Murgor said the burial ceremony is a joint undertaking between his client and Gabrielle van Straten, Cohen’s sister, as per the burial permit and consent order registered in court.

Yesterday afternoon, he sought variation of the court order to have Wairimu allowed to attend the burial today.

Gabrielle and her husband Roy Van Straten left the country on Friday evening after Cohen’s will, which dispossessed Sarah of any inheritance, was opened at Chege Kirundi and Company Advocates offices. 

Their lawyer Cliff Ombeta said they had other compelling issues to attend to since they have been in the country since investigations started. 

High Court judge Stella Mutuku had granted Wairimu’s prayers to attend the funeral of her late husband yesterday under escort by officers from the Prisons Department. 

She further directed the order be served to the Director of Public Prosecutions Nordin Haji and the Director of Criminal Investigations George Kinoti to facilitate the production of Sarah and her attendance at the burial site and back to prison. 

On Thursday, Wairimu is expected to plead to murder charges after High Court judge Jessie Lesiit postponed last week’s scheduled plea taking after it emerged that Sarah was yet to undergo a mental examination.

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