Kenya: Cohen Postmortem Pushed to Wednesday After Row Over Pathologist

Slain Dutch billionaire Tob Cohen.
17 September 2019

Government Chief Pathologist Johansen Oduor will Wednesday morning lead a team of doctors in conducting a postmortem examination on the body of Dutch tycoon Tob Cohen at the Chiromo mortuary.

The autopsy will be done in the presence of two other independent pathologists - Prof Emily Rugena representing Cohen's family and Prof Andrew Gachii representing key suspect Sarah Cohen and other interested parties who include government chemists as well as DCI's forensic crime scenes investigators and homicide detectives.

INJURIES

Last night, a CT scan was scheduled to be conducted on the body at Kenyatta National Hospital. The purpose of the scan was to establish the nature of fractures that may be discovered on the body and any other injuries that may be missed during the postmortem.

The findings of the autopsy will primarily help establish the cause of the tycoon's death and the Post-Mortem Interval, the time that has elapsed since Mr Cohen's death occurred.

The exercise had been scheduled for Tuesday but the defence team led by Philip Murgor objected to having it conducted by government pathologist Peter Ndegwa, accusing him of having made some conclusive statements at the scene of crime last Friday.

During a pre-postmortem conference at Chiromo yesterday, Mr Ndegwa was told that his statements on the day Cohen's body was found at his Kitisuru home were conclusive and therefore likely to have an impact on the process.

RELIGION

"The defence lawyers picked up something I had mentioned to the DCI at the crime scene, which they were not happy about. They requested that I should not continue representing the DCI because they feel maybe it will be prejudiced. We have all accepted their request and therefore my colleague Johansen Oduor, who is on leave, has agreed to temporarily resume work and be here for the postmortem examination," said Dr Ndegwa.

The defence team is seeking to have Ms Sarah Wairimu Cohen, who is in police custody, allowed to go to the mortuary to identify the body ahead of the autopsy. They also want a visit to the scene of crime.

But Mr Cohen's family lawyer Cliff Ombeta said the postponement of the autopsy had a far-reaching effect on the deceased's relatives, who are Jews, a religion that pushes for the burial of dead persons within 36 hours. Mr Ombeta added that the family had overstretched their finances through their long stay in hotels since they came into the country to follow up on the matter.

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