DPP ‘not ready’ to begin tycoon’s tax evasion case

Tuesday, December 8th, 2020 00:00 |
DPP Noordin Haji
DPP Noordin Haji. Photo/PD/File
DPP Noordin Haji

Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Noordin Haji is still not ready to begin tax evasion cases against businessman Humphrey Kariuki and five others, one year and four months after they were filed in court.

Yesterday, when the accused appeared before Milimani Senior Principal Magistrate Kennedy Cheruiyot for hearing, it emerged that the DPP was not ready as he seeks to consolidate the three cases against the suspects. 

“We will not be ready to proceed with the hearing today, tomorrow and Wednesday because the DPP has directed me to have the matter mentioned before Milimani Chief Magistrate Francis Andayi on December 22, for purposes of consolidation of the three cases as the witnesses and exhibits are the same,” said the prosecution.

Further, the prosecution said they were not ready with the hearing as they have not amended the charges after late last month they withdrew charges against businessman Stuart Gerald Herd, a former director at WOW beverages under section 87 (a) of the Criminal Procedure Code. 

But defence lawyers, led by Kioko Kilukumi and Cecil Miller, protested the application to have the case adjourned and consolidate, saying the move is an abuse of the court process and the accused person’s right to a fair hearing.

“It is an abuse of the court process for the DPP to await after one year and four months to  inform the court on his intention to consolidate the three cases,” said Kilukumi.  “This application is misplaced and is meant to delay the hearing of the cases.

The intention of this case is not to get justice but persecute the accused,” added the defence.

Kilukumi argued that when the accused persons were charged in court on August 9, 2019, the DPP in his wisdom opened three different files number 1333,1334 and 1342. 

In the case, Kariuki is charged alongside Wow Beverages directors Robert Muriithi and Africa Spirits Directors Peter Njenga Kuria and Geoffrey Kinoti where they faced 21 counts of tax evasion of Sh41 billion.   

The magistrate will deliver his ruling today  at 11am on whether to allow prosecution request to transfer the file to Magistrate Andayi for consolidation of the three cases.

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