Court reduces by two days wife of missing Dutch tycoon is to spend in police custody
The wife of missing Dutch businessman Tob Cohen will now spend 10 days in custody instead of 12 after the High Court reviewed her detention period.
Justice Daniel Ogembo said Friday the lower court's detention orders against Sarah Wairimu were lawful only that the court did not consider she had already spent about four days in custody before the ruling.
“For that reason, I only reduce the detention period from 12 days to 10; which start from the day the Kiambu Law Court issued the orders,” ruled Ogembo.
This means the detention started on September 2 to 12 when the police will either charge Wairimu or release her.
The judge added that other orders issued by the lower court will remain the same.
Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji and Director of Criminal Investigations George Kinoti had urged the High Court to dismiss Wairimu's application with Senior Assistant Prosecutor Alexander Muteti saying she was likely to interfere with witnesses, some of whom she had reportedly coached on what information to give to the police.
"To safeguard the interest of justice, the court should not release the suspect on bail as we have demonstrated there is interference with her servants, who are persons of interest and may be witnesses in the case," said Muteti.
He told the court Wairimu coached her servants, including Samuel Muia, who has since recanted his earlier statement recorded with the police.
"We urge the court not to interfere with the Kiambu magistrate's order and disallow the application by the suspect as it lacks merit," he said.
The prosecution informed the court they are investigating why the suspect failed to report the disappearance of her husband until 16 days after he went missing.
On Thursday, Wairimu, through lawyer Philip Murgor, argued that the decision to detain her was illegal. Murgor pleaded with the court to release her either on bail or bond pending the investigations.
“The arraignment of the applicant 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 told the court.
This was after Kiambu magistrate granted police 12 days to continue detaining Wairimu on September 2.
According to the police,the Dutch businessman was last seen in a club in Parklands, Nairobi, on July 20 at around 3pm where he reportedly met two women before he disappeared and his phone was later switched off.
Police say Cohen might have been kidnapped from his residence in Nairobi and taken by Wairimu and associates to an unknown place.They suspect the businessman was later murdered.
The Netherlands Embassy in Nairobi and Cohen’s business associates have reportdely been putting pressure on Kenyan authorities to establish the billionaire’s whereabouts.
This led to the arrest of Wairimu on Wednesday last week at her Kitisuru home and she was taken to DCI headquarters for interrogation before being detained at Muthaiga Police Station.
Before his disappearance, Cohen and Wairimu were embroiled in a bitter divorce case involving a multi-million-shilling property, which is still pending before a Nairobi court.