Billionaire Humphrey Kariuki tells judge DPP out to cripple his firms

By , K24 Digital
On Wed, 25 Sep, 2019 10:57 | 2 mins read
Humphrey Kariuki
Businessman Humphrey Kariuki (right) with his lawyers at the Milimani Law Courts on September 5, 2019. PHOTO | NANCY GITONGA | PD
Businessman Humphrey Kariuki (right) with his lawyers at the Milimani Law Courts on September 5, 2019. PHOTO | NANCY GITONGA | PD

Billionaire Humphrey Kariuki has accused Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) Noordin Haji of filing multiple cases to frustrate and cripple several companies associated with him.

Kariuki, through his lawyer Cecil Miller, told High Court Justice Luka Kimaru that there are multiple cases pending in different courts involving his client relating to Sh41 billion tax case filed by the DPP.

"The DPP actions to go ahead to serve the illegally obtained freeze order on National Bank and KCB Bank has crippled the companies and brought lives of thousands of employees to a standstill,” said Miller.

In his submission, Miller said that Kenya Revenue Authority slapped Kariuki with huge amounts of money claiming that the Thika-based Africa Spirits Limited (ASL) and Wow Beverages Ltd didn't file the tax as required by the law.

He urged the court not to reinstate the orders freezing nine banks accounts of companies associated with Kariuki, African Spirits Ltd, Wow Beverages Ltd and their associate.

The accounts were frozen for 90 days to enable detectives investigate allegations of money laundering, saying that the orders were illegally obtained by the state.

"The order for preservation of funds was mischievous and was irregularly obtained in Kiambu and served on National Bank and KCB, but not on the bank account owners," said Miller.

Afircan Spirits Ltd said the freeze order has rendered them unable to comply with the Sh11 million cash bail granted to them by the Nairobi Chief Magistrate Francis Andayi.

Further, the lawyer submitted that an order applied for in court by the prosecution in Kiambu court was to have access and search the bank accounts, not to freeze them.

Miller also said that the order served to the banks brought in several companies that are not accused persons in any of the three cases pending in court against Kariuki.

He also accused the prosecution of obtaining the orders ex-parte and urged the court to deprive the DPP of any undue advantage against other parties using the orders.

"Parties were condemned unheard and that condemnation was assisted by an irregular non-existent order and the question was asked what happens if one of the many cases concludes and there are acquittals while funds have already been seized?" asked the lawyer.

The lawyer argued that the multiple cases are an abuse of the court process. 

"The file in Kiambu needs to be called for this court can see the mischief in the extraction of the order that was served on banks since the", said Miller.

The court heard that during the period that African Spirit Ltd is being accused of failing to pay taxes, they were issued with a tax compliance certificate. The same applies to WOW Beverages Ltd.

"No notice was issued to Africa Spirits Limited (ASL) to appear before the Commissioner of Taxes as required by the Tax Procedure Act of 2015, and the DPP can’t demonstrate that this was done", the lawyer said.

He further added that affidavit of KRA does not show specific offenses under the Excise Duty Act of 2015 and VAT procedures

In the matter, the DPP is seeking the preservation orders that investigations are ongoing. Haji claims that the companies were involved in money laundering.

The DPP, through Catherine Mwaniki, sought to have the court orders reinstated having been stayed by Chief Magistrate in the Kiambu Law Courts.

Kiambu Senior Principal Magistrate Stella Atambo ruled that the order served on two banks to freeze the accounts was irregular since the DCI never sought such an order in the first place.

The matter was adjourned to Thursday for the DPP and KRA to respond.