DPP accused of delaying Humphrey Kariuki tax case
Businessman Humphrey Kariuki has accused Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji of delaying the hearing of the Sh41 billion tax evasion case against him and others.
The DPP initiated the case last year but when they appeared in court on Monday, they said they are not ready to proceed.
The DPP told magistrate Kennedy Cheruiyot he seeks to consolidate the three cases.
"Will not be ready to proceed with the hearing today, tomorrow and Wednesday as l have been directed by the DPP to have the matter mentioned before Milimani chief magistrate Francis Andayi on December 22,2020 for purposes of consolidating the three cases as the witnesses and exhibits are the same," the prosecution said.
When the accused persons were charged on August 9, 2019, the DPP opened three different files number 1333,1334 and 1342 on several counts, including forgery, money laundering and tax evasion. They are all being handled by different magistrates.
Defence lawyers led by Kioko kilukumi and Cecil Miller on Monday protested the application to consolidate the cases. They also objected to having the matter adjourned claiming the move by the DPP is an abuse of the court process and the suspect's right to a fair hearing.
"It is an abuse of the court process for the DPP to wait after one year and four months for him to write to the court on December 4, 2020 on his intention to consolidate the three matters,"Kilukumi said.
Kilukumi urged Cheruiyot to dismiss the application for adjournment and order the hearing to proceed. He said the delay in handling the matter has prejudiced Kariuki's international reputation as a businessman. Court will rule on the matter today.
Kariuki was last year charged alongside Peter Njenga Kuria (director, Africa Spirits Ltd), Robert Thinji Murithi (director, Wow), Geofrey Kinoti (director, Africa Spirits) with failing to pay tax.
They are accused of deliberately failing to pay taxes, falsifing records, omitting records from the Value Added Tax and concealing excise stamp duties between February 2016 to December 2018, leading to a tax loss of Sh41 billion.
In other counts, the accused were said to have omitted submitting tax returns of Africa Spirits Ltd totaling Sh18 billion within the same period
They were all released on Sh22 million bond each with a surety of a similar amount or pay an alternative cash bail of Sh11 million each.
This article was published by The Star on 8/12/2020.