The estranged wife of slain Dutch businessman tycoon Tob Cohen is reportedly building a hotel near her rural home in Njigari village in Othaya, Nyeri County.
According to a report in the Sunday Nation, Sarah Wairimu’s neighbors in Njigari said Ms Wairimu bought the one-acre land at an area bordering the Aberdares forest over five years ago and has been in the process of putting up a hotel. However, construction appears to have stalled.
The locals said Cohen and Wairimu used to frequent the project together and would spend their nights in a prefabricated house in the same compound.
The couple gradually stopped visiting the project together, with the Dutch tycoon visiting alone while his wife would be accompanied by strangers, the neighbours said.
Ms Wairimu was last seen in March and June while the deceased visited around April. During his last visit, the businessman reportedly took photos of the stalled building and cautioned the neighbours against talking about his visit to strangers.
“The Mzungu (Cohen) used to be friendly and outgoing. He would engage in general talk with us. But in his April tour, he appeared cautious and did not speak much,” said one of the neighbours identified as Solomon Muchiri.
During her visit in March, Ms Wairimu was in the company of people in “posh cars”. The residents also noted that the contractor and the workers left the site the same month.
“Ms Wairimu was last here around end of June, and she was in company of another woman. They spent some time and left,” said another neighbour, David Muriithi.
The local dailies report that during some of the visits, neighbours said Ms Wairimu would be in the company of armed police officers from Munyange Police Station.
Neighbours described Ms Wairimu, the key suspect in her husband’s gruesome murder, as a person of few words who rarely interacted with her neighbours.
Last year, she had a confrontation with one Mr Solomon Muchiri—who sold her the one-acre piece of land in Nyeri—over property boundary.
“One day my dogs preyed on one of poultry birds she had kept. The worker called and informed her about the incident. She told me that she wanted the chicken back alive failure to which I will be detained by police in Munyange,” narrated Mr Murithi.
The farmer responded that it was the bird that had trespassed to his land and found his dogs, and therefore it was Ms Wairimu who should have compensated him. The response marked end of the dispute and he no longer saw the birds again.
“There were reports that she planned to buy our lands and evict us so as to expand the hotel premises,” added Mr Muriithi.
– Additional Reporting by Nation