DPP accused of frustrating tycoon Humphrey Kariuki’s lawyers in tax-evasion case

By , K24 Digital
On Mon, 28 Sep, 2020 16:17 | 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

Lawyers representing billionaire businessman Humphrey Kariuki and other co-accused in the tax-related cases they are facing have accused the prosecution of failing to comply with court orders requiring them to fully disclose the charges against their clients.

On Monday, the lawyers told Nairobi Chief Magistrate Francis Andayi that the Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji has not supplied them with materials that they needed to prepare the defence of their clients as ordered by the court on February 26 this year.

Lawyer Wilfred Nderitu for the fifth accused in the case told Mr Andayi that they have not received all documents in the case and the list of witnesses despite the court’s directive.

“I have heard the prosecution say that they have fully complied in making full disclosure. It’s our position that is not accurate. What we need is one comprehensive inventory of what was circulated to everyone,” Mr Nderitu said.

Defence lawyers Kioko Kilukumi and Cecil Miller, who are acting for the tycoon had in February complained that they were unable to adequately prepare their client’s defence following the continued delay in supply of witness statements, supporting documents and exhibits.

“One year after investigations began and seven months after taking a plea, the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) has not supplied us with all the witness statements and exhibits,” Kilukumi had told Chief Magistrate Andayi.

Kilukumi told the court that he wrote to the DPP in January seeking the documents for pre-trial preparations but what was supplied had discrepancies.

On Monday, advocate Nderitu told the court that that letter they wrote has not been responded to and asked the court to direct the prosecution to comply.

“Your Honour, the prosecution must provide the defence with all the evidence, including incriminating and exculpatory evidence,” he said.

But State Counsel Caroline Sigei told the court that the DPP has complied with the court order.

Sigei, however, told the court that they had difficulties due to the COVID-19 pandemic in responding to the letters written by some of the defence counsels seeking for further documents.

“We need time for disclosure since we have had several activities touching on this matter including scene visits, scaling down of operations due to COVID-19 and also the closure of Milimani Courts,” she said.

Other lawyers also complained about the delay in supply of crucial documents with Manasses Mwangi for Africa Spirits Limited saying they have not received some of the documents already given to other lawyers.

Lawyer Rubeena Dar told the court that the trial may be chaotic if the prosecution does not put its house in order in terms of witnesses and documentation.

The Nairobi Chief Magistrate directed the DPP to comply with the court order issued on February 26.

He also asked the parties to respond to an application by Africa Spirits Ltd that sought status at its factory where claims of theft and death had been reported.

The matter will be mentioned on October 21, to confirm compliance with the court orders.