Court summons Businessman Humphrey Kariuki over tax fraud
Businessman Humphrey Kariuki has been summoned to appear in court to answer to charges of tax evasion of more than Sh41 billion.
Nairobi chief magistrate Francis Andayi on Friday signed the order requiring Kariuki to appear personally in court on August 19.
This is after the KRA prosecutor made an application to have the court issue summons against Kairuki and his four other co-accused persons following their failure to appear in court to plead to the criminal charges.
The billionaire businessman is said to be out of the country as he holds dual citizenship with Cyprus. Kariuki is charged alongside three directors of WoW Beverages Limited, four others from Africa Spirits Limited and a driver said to be an accomplice.
Those who failed to appear in court include Kariuki, Stuart Gerald Herd (Director WOW Beverages Limited), Geoffrey Kaaria (Director Africa Spirits Limited) Sethu Prabhu (Assistant Production Manager, Africa Spirits Limited), Eric Nzomba (Driver).
In the case, the prosecution has also preferred charges against Africa Spirits Limited and WoW Beverages Limited.
However, three of the employees of alcohol manufacturer African spirits Peter Njenga Kuria (Director Africa Spirits Limited), Robert Thinji Muriithi (Director WOW Beverages Limited), and Kepha Githu Gakure (Tax Manager, Africa Spirits Limited/WoW Beverages Limited) were arraigned and faced several charges of tax evasion.
Among the charges they denied including failing to pay tax, fraud, being in possession of counterfeit excise stamps, being in possession of uncustomised goods, being in possession of excisable goods affixed with counterfeit excise stamps, adding the commission of a tax offence and forgery.
They were granted Sh 22 million bonds each with a surety of a similar amount with alternative bail of Sh11 million each in the three criminal files that the prosecution opened against the accused persons.
Andayi further ordered the three to deposit their passports with the court. He further directed the pretrial of the case to be conducted on September 5.
The prosecution says between the tax periods February 1, 2019, and December 31, 2018, Kariuki and his co-accused being licensed excise duty manufacturer and registered taxpayers deliberately failed to pay the requisite taxes of Sh17,782,553,085 payable to KRA.
They are further accused that on or about January 31, 2019 at Africa spirits Limited and Wow Beverages limited premises in Thika town, Kiambu county the accused persons jointly with others not before court conspired to defraud the government of Kenya revenue of Sh 5,704,858 by failing to pay relevant duty for 80 drums of 250 litres each of ethanol found in possession.