Court summons billionaire Humphrey Kariuki in Ksh.41B tax evasion case
A Nairobi Court has issued summons against billionaire business tycoon Humphrey Kariuki after he failed to appear in court on Friday to face tax evasion charges pressed against him.
According to DPP Haji, who approved tax evasion charges against the businessman, an audit by the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) revealed that his company Africa Spirits Limited/WOW Beverages Limited had evaded the payment of tax amounting to Ksh.41,539,038,448 between 2014-2019.
Through his lawyer, the court was however informed that the Nairobi business man is out of the jurisdiction and therefore unable to attend court proceedings.
His lawyer was also not able to ascertain when he will be back in the country.
It however went on record that the first accused has religiously been attending to the DCI offices as the court had ordered back in January this year.
Other suspects who did not attend court include the 2nd, 5th, 6th, 8th and 9th accused persons.
Through his lawyer, Geoffery Kaaria Kinoti, the 5th accused person in the case, also submitted that there was a matter pending in the high court in regards to anticipatory bail orders that had been issued.
The court issued summons to all the accused persons who did not attend the court process but the 5th accused due to the orders issued in the high court.
Meanwhile, out of the nine accused persons in the case, three took plea today before chief magistrate Francis Andayi at the Milimani law courts.
The three, Peter Njenga Kuria, Robert thinji Murithi and Kefa Gakure pleaded not guilty to over 20 counts pressed against them.
They are facing charges in regard to failure to pay tax contrary to the laws of Kenya.
It is alleged that between the tax periods covering February 1, 2016 and December 31, 2018 being a licensed excise duty manufacturer and registered tax payers respectively, deliberately failed to pay the requisite taxes of Ksh.17,782,553,085 payable to the commissioner domestic taxes by the due duties required by the law.
They further face charges of fraud in relation to tax and aiding the commission of a tax offence where they omitted from the return of income of Africa spirits limited.
The prosecution prayed to the court for stringent bond terms to be imposed since the charges were quite grievous. They also prayed that the court issues orders to have the accused persons deposit their passports with the court.
In their defense, the three accused persons submitted that they have religiously been attending the DCI offices as ordered by the court and had all intentions of attending court process.
They further prayed for leniency in imposing bond terms since they claimed they have been out of work since February when the investigations started.
The court released them on a Ksh.20 million bond and an addition of 1 surety or an alternative of Ksh.10,000,000 cash bail for the 1st charge.
The second and third charge was issued Ksh 1,ooo,ooo or Ksh.500,000 cash bail for each charge.
The case will be mentioned on September 5, 2019.