Kariuki accuses Haji of plot to cripple firms

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

Kariuki through lawyer Cecil Miller told High Court Justice Luka Kimaru that there are multiple cases pending in different courts involving his client relating to Sh 41 billion filed by the DPP seeking preservation orders against bank accounts linked to his firms which amounts to forum shopping and an abuse of the court process.

"The DPP actions to go a 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 the Kariuki with a draconian amounts of money claiming that 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 reinstated the orders for freezing the nine banks accounts companies allegedly associated to businessman Kariuki, African Spirits, Wow Beverages Limited and theirassociate for 90 days to enable DCI complete investigations into 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 Spirit Ltd says that the orders for freezing the accounts have rendered them unable to comply with the Sh 11 million cash bail granted to them by the Milimani chief Magistrate Francis Andayi after denying charges relating to Sh 41 billion tax evasion case last month.

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 and 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 orders obtained.

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

The lawyer argued that the multiple cases are an abuse of the court process adding that there needs to be finality in a matter before court and shareholders of a company have been charged in court over tax issues of the company.

"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 Limited.

"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", lawyer added

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 seeking the preservation orders that investigations are on going claiming that the companies may have possibly involved in the commission of money laundering.

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

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

The matter was adjourned until on tomorrow (Thursday) for the DPP and KRA to respond on the matter.

This article was published by the PEOPLE ONLINE on September 25, 2019