Speech by Tob Cohen’s brother that caused Wairimu to fire back

Wairimu & Bernard clash at Tob's burial

A file photo of Bernard Cohen during a past press conference

Murdered Dutch tycoon Tob Cohen’s brother, Bernard, and wife Sarah Wairimu on Tuesday engaged in a silent war of words during their kin’s burial ceremony at a Jewish cemetery in Nairobi.

In his speech, Bernard started by narrating his family’s history – including how his father had escaped the Holocaust in Nazi Germany.

Tob was to later relocate to Kenya where he met Sarah – then his personal assistant.

Bernard said his brother was not proud of the relationship and kept it a secret from his family which is based in Europe.

"He fell in love with Kenya, and later started a new life. In the meantime, a secret relationship started growing slowly by slowly with Sarah."

Bernard claimed his brother’s marriage was out of a convenience proposed by Wairimu and was meant to protect Tob’s property which was under threat from greedy neighbors.

"He got a piece of land so his neighbours started fighting over his premises. So he would have been kicked out of this country. According to Sarah, they had to marry for him to stay in Kenya," he said. 

The family would later learn about their brother’s troubled marriage.

"So unexpectedly, we learnt of the torturing and subsequent slaughtering of our brother.... For the three of us coming from a family of a Holocaust survivor, it was least expected”.

The remarks did not sit well with Wairimu who started his speech by clarifying that she was not a secret wife.

There is nothing to hide, I have never been a secret. Many of you have known me for many years as Sarah Tobs but I'm glad you've heard all my names and I'm glad you realise I'm Sarah Cohen. Know that very clear,” she said.

In an indirect attack on her brother in law, she accused “some family members purporting to be family, but that’s another story”. Bernard was the only member of the Cohen family who was present.

Bernard’s speech was a big contrast to his sister Gabrielle Van Straten and her husband Roy who described Wairimu as “a charming and an entertaining person”.

"She was a nice-looking woman, well-educated and very well-spoken. Her culture was different from ours but we respected that. I cannot say anything negative about her, absolutely not," they said during a past interview.

Gabrielle, who was reported to be very close to the late Cohen, left the country on Saturday under unclear circumstances.

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