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WIN FOR RASTAFARIANS AFTER COURT ALLOWS TEENAGE GIRL TO KEEP DREADLOCKS

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Rastafarians before the High Court in Nairobi on Friday September 13,2019./PHOTO BY S.A.N.

BY SAM ALFAN.

The High Court has ruled that Rastafarian is a recognized religion and therefore no student should be expelled for keeping dreadlocks.

In a judgment expected to generate huge debate, Justice Chacha Mwita ruled that Rastafarian is a recognized religion with genuinely-held beliefs like keeping the 10 commandments and observing the Sabbath.

The case follows a petition filed by a man whose teenage daughter was expelled from a high school in Kibra constituency, for keeping dreadlocks. She was expelled after failing to shave them as directed.

Justice Mwita allowed the 15 year old girl to continue with her education after finding that the school violated her right to education and religion.

The judge said, “The girl kept dreadlocks not out of choice but as a manifestation of her religious beliefs.”

The school was further prohibited from interfering with the girl’s education on religious grounds.

“There must be reasonable accommodation for religious beliefs and the stand taken by the school that she must shave her hair is contrary to her religious beliefs under Article 32,” the judge ruled.

The judge said school rules are not meant to visit punishment on students to the extent that they discriminate the Rastafarian child, they are therefore unconstitutional.

According to the judge, school rules must respect religious beliefs and as a result, the girl should be allowed to continue with her education. The court found that school failed to show there was no alternative other than to expel the girl.

Through lawyers Shadrack Wambui and Dudley Ochiel, the girl argued that her right to education cannot be compromises by her right to the manifestation to her religious beliefs.

The lawyers further submitted that the student had disclosed that her religion is Rastafarian during her admission and the school admitted her and allowed to attend two classes.

According to lawyer Ochiel, the decision by the court is a win for freedom of religion and a celebration of diversity.

COURT DETAINS WIFE TO MISSING DUTCH BUSINESSMAN TO LANGATA PRISON.

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Missing businessman Tob Cohen's wife Sarah Wairimu Kamotho with lawyer Philip Murgor before High Court Criminal Court after she was ordered to undergo mental assessment before pleading to charges of murder on Thursday September 12,2019./PHOTO BY S.A.N.

BY SAM ALFAN.

High Court Criminal Division has ordered immediate detention of the wife of missing Nairobi based Dutch businessman Tob Cohen’s wife Sarah Wairimu Kamotho at Langata Women Prison

Vacation Judge Charles Kariuki further Wairimu to undergo mental assessment before pleading to the murder charges.

According to a charge sheet filed in court by the prosecution,  Sarah Wairimu Kamotho on the night 19 and 20 July jointly with others not before court murdered Tob Cohen.

Cohen is a former Chief Executive Oofficer of Philips Electronics East Africa and was reported missing in July and it is 60 days since his disappearance.

This after the Director of Public Prosecution through Catherine Mwaniki told the court that they are ready to charge Wairimu with the murder of Cohen, her husband.

However Mwaniki said that they want her taken for medical assessment first to ascertain whether she is fit to take plea which is a requirement for all murder suspects.

Wairimu’s lawyer Philip Murgor opposed the submissions by the prosecution saying that they can not charge Wairimu since there are no copies of evidence and it has not yet been established whether Cohen is dead or not.

Mwaniki opposed stating that there are witnesses together with their statements which ought to be protected.

“The procedure in charging a person with murder usually is to take a suspect for mental assessment while in custody, take plea and after that they can apply for bail,” added Mwaniki.

The case will be mentioned on Monday before the justice Jessie Lessit for plea taking next.

The matter will be mentioned next week before High Court criminal division presiding Lady Judge Jessie Lessit for further directions.

BUSINESSMAN JARED OTIENO NOW WANTS POLICE COMPELLED TO RETURN SEIZED ITEMS.

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Businessman Jared Otieno and his co-accused before a Nairobi court.

BY NT CORRESPONDENT.

Flashy businessman Jared Otieno and his co-accused who accused of falsely obtaining Sh300 million in fake gold syndicate wants the police compelled to release their properties, which were confiscated  during their arrest in May.

In a certificate of urgency, the 16 accused persons are seeking orders to compel Director of Criminal Investigation George Kinoti and Attorney General Paul Kihara to release their assets, which were picked by officers during the raid at their office on Kaputei Gardens house number 12 in Nairobi.

The court documents stated that the items seized include furniture, electrical and kitchen appliances.

The accused persons include Otieno, Philip Oroko and Ricky Ochieng. They claim they are directors and managers and suppliers of company trading as Nirone Safe Keeping Limited.

They further argue after arrests by DCI officers in their offices and charges before Nairobi Magistrate court, they returned to their offices to salvage the little that was left only to find the rooms empty.

Upon enquiring from the landlord, they were informed that the DCI had ordered the officers to carry away everything belonging to the said company. They claim Nirone safe keeping limited have not been in position to salvage their jobs, or company since their arrest.

“The fact that the simple furniture, upholstery and even to the extent of taking simple cutlery remains mystery to their involvement in their ongoing trial,” the application reads.

In the fraud case, Otieno and 15 others are charged with conspiracy to defraud a foreigner of US dollars $3 million equivalent to Sh300 million. They denied the charge and are out on bond.

The prosecution alleges that between February 8 and 25, 2019 the accused persons jointly conspired to defraud Sounthorn Chathavong a director of Simuong Group of company from Lao by means of fraudulent tricks displayed heavy metal boxes allegedly marked with genuine Gold.

The said transaction allegedly took place at office trading in the name of Nirone Keeping Limited while pretending that they were carrying out genuine Gold business. In the second count the accused were indicted of obtaining money by false pretences.

The prosecution further alleges that during the same period the accused persons at Kaputei Gardens located at Kileleshwa area within Nairobi County made trademarks to be genuine stickers authorized by Ghana customs authority.

All of them are said to have been found with fake gold contrary to the law, the accused included two students, a watchman, gardener and three foreigners- one from Chad and two from DR Congo.

The case is set for mention on September 25 for pretrial.

In another mater, Milimani chief magistrate Francis Andayi extended warrant of arrest against Ugandan national Kayombya Gorman alias Timothy Mureithi who is being sought by police for jumping bail in Sh23 million gold fraud.

He is charged alongside lawyer Munzala Javier Runili, businessman Otieno, Philip Nashon Aroko, Roy Shirekuli and Ismail Shikanda Aballah.

All of them have denied defrauding Samier Entoro, a Brazilian national who is an investor in the country.

The magistrate directed the case to be mentioned on October 1 for further directions.

DPP DEFENDS MOVE TO CHARGE MOMBASA MAGISTRATE.

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Director of public Prosecution Noordin Haji.

BY SAM ALFAN.

Director of public Prosecution Noordin Haji has urged Mombasa High Court to dismiss a case filed by Kenya Judges and Magistrate Association (KJMA) seeking to stop prosecution of Magistrate Edgar Kagoni.

In his response to the petition, Haji wants the case thrown out on grounds that the association has failed to demonstrate how he has violated the rights of the Mombasa principal magistrate by recommending his prosecution.

Further the DPP argues that the petition by the KJMA has been made in bad faith, frivolous, vexatious and lacks merit.

DPP disagreed with the association defence that as per Article 160(5) a member of the Judiciary is not liable in an action or suit in respect of anything done or omitted to be done in good faith in the lawful performance of a judicial function.

“The judicial immunity is only available to judicial officers for things done or omitted in good faith in lawful performance of judicial functions and is not therefore available to Mombasa magistrate for his conduct which has describe was criminal and without good faith, “says haji.

He added that the KMJA has failed to demonstrate how he abused his powers by recommending the criminal charges against Kagoni.

Documents filed in court states that the office of the DPP has a mandate to institute and undertake criminal against those whom he has sufficient factual and legal basis such as the magistrate in question.

Haji says that KMJA has not demonstrated in executing his mandate, he acted without or in excess of his powers or acted maliciously.

He also says that the association made general allegation relating to the alleged violation and infringement of the magistrate.

According to the DPP he reveals that Kagoni dismissed the application by investigation officer to have the 10 Kg drugs released back to the police for safe custody.

Instead he allowed the court assistant Onesmus Miinda Momanyi to take control of the exhibits in the Sh30 million heroin and the foreign currency worth Sh 600,000.

Haji says that the magistrate failed to make any written direction as to how or where to store the heroine and the fake currency.

The magistrate is said to have order the exhibits to be kept by the court after production.

” The failure by the magistrate to make any written direction as how or where to store the said exhibits and the resultant failure to comply with the requirement of the provisions of part of 67(f) and 68(a) of the registry manual that requires court to give a propriety storage of exhibits was criminal in the nature and facilitate the theft of the exhibits, “says DPP.

The DPP said a stay order by the magistrate in his judgement dated June 11,2019 to have the fake money amounting to over Sh 600,000 be returned to the convict Hussein Massoud Eid breached sections 36 and 78 of Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substance control Act No. 4 of 2004 which he is obligated upon convicting the accused to be forfeited.

Prosecution said it is clear from the foregoing factual background that the manner in which the magistrate handled or treated the exhibits was reckless and that it is recklessness that led to the loss of the said exhibits.

“Such recklessness on the part of the magistrate amounts to criminal culpability for which he is liable for prosecution”, added prosecution.

This comes after after KMJA moved to court on Monday and obtained orders stopping the prosecution of Kagoni.

The association through lawyers Dunstan Omari and Nelson Havi argue that a magistrate cannot be arrested over his judgement adding that the DPP can only disagree with judgements through seeking revision or appeal.

“That interim conservatory orders against the state, the assignees, agents, servant, employees in processing and preferring any criminal charges against the petitioner (kagoni) arising from criminal case No. 468 of 2018 Republic vs Hussesin Masood EId and two others pending the hearing of notice of motion filed by him and Kenya Magistrates and Judges Association,” order the Judge.

Kagoni says that there’s no justification upon which he should be charged for the theft of of the exhibits.

The magistrate further claims that the move by the DPP to press charges against him is misguided and meant to harass and intimidate him.

Kagoni who is out on Sh 20,000 cash bail pending the hearing of the application is charged alongside three others including court assistant Onesmus Momanyi based at Ruiru law courts and court executive assistant Abdallah Awadh and court assistant Lawrence Thoya.

The magistrate was today released on a cash bail of 300,000 and a bond of 700,000 on other drugs issue of the three remaining case in Mombasa.

Kenya Judges and Magistrates Association filed a case seeking to block Director of public prosecution from charging Mombasa Principal Magistrate Kagoni Edgar Matsigulu.

The association through lawyer Danstan Omari and Shadrack Wambui wants the court to issue a conservatory order restraining DPP from charging the magistrate pending hearing and determination of the application.
The association successfully secured a order from Mombasa High Court blocking the DPP from charging the magistrate.
DPP move has been condemned by the Kenya Judges and Magistrates Association and Law Society of Kenya.

TWO WHO SOUGHT TO SUPPLY SNAKE VENOM CHARGED WITH ILLEGALLY OBTAINING SH800,000.

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Dickson Kisoso Maithya and Jeff Kilonzi Kilunda who are accused of obtaining Sh 881,000 from woman by falsely pretending they would supply her with snake venom a fact they knew to be false before Milimani Chief Magistrate Court on Wednesday September 11,2019./PHOTO BY S.A.N.

BY NT CORRESPONDENT.

Two men have been charged with obtaining over Sh 800,000 falsely by pretending that they would be able to supply snake venom.

Dickson Kisoso Maithya and Jeff Kilonzi Kilunda are accused of obtaining Sh 881,000 from Anita Mueni Mbithi by falsely pretending they would supply her with snake venom a fact they knew to be false.

They are alleged to have committed the offence on diverse dates between May 9,2018 and May 18,2018 at an unknown place in Kenya.

Kisoso and Kilonzi duo denied the charges before chief Magistrate Francis Andayi at the Milimani law courts.

They were released on a bond of Sh300,000 or a cash bail of Sh 200,000.

The case will be mentioned on September 23,2019 and will be heard on November 20,2019.

COURT BLOCKS GOVERNOR LENOLKULAL FROM ACCESSING FUNDS IN HIS KCB ACCOUNTS OR SELLING KAREN PROPERTY.

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Samburu Governor Moses Lenolkulal at Milimani Law court./FILE PHOTO.

BY SAM ALFAN.

High Court has blocked Samburu Governor Moses Lenolkulal from accessing funds in his account or selling Karen property pending hearing and determination of the application by EACC.

Justice Charles Kariuki of High Court Anti-Corruption and Economic Crimes division further prohibited the the Governor and Petrol station associated with him from withdrawing , transferring or in any other manner dealing with 14.6 million in two accounts held at Kenya Commercial Bank Limited.

Court further issued order restraining Governor Moses Lenolkulal and T/A ORYX Service Station from transferring , developing , selling , deposing or dealing in any way with parcels of Land known as LR No. 2259/744(IR. 134495/1). LR No. 2259/745 (IR. 134494/1). LR No. 2259/749 (IR. 134510/1) and LR No. 2259/750(IR. 134511/1) all located in Karen Nairobi.

This is after Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission filed application under certificate of urgency seeking orders to prohibit the Governor from transferring or selling land or money suspected to be proceeds of crime.

The agency told the court they are investigating allegations of corruption and economic crimes bribery , conflict of interests amongst contractors and officials of the Samburu county government of including Kasaine who is the Governor.

In the course of investigations, EACC through a miscellaneous application No. 13 of 2019 obtained orders preserving four properties owned by the Governor in Karen.

In another miscellaneous application No. 15 of 2019 , the agency obtained orders to preserve 14,6000,000 million held in the Governor accounts at Kenya Commercial Bank for a period of six months and they will lapse on September 22,2019.

EACC has completed investigations and has established that the Governor entered inti contract with Samburu County Government for supply of fuel through ORYX Service Station.

The petrol station was paid over 80 million from the said contract for the supply of fuel and money was paid in a account of the petrol station at KCB.

“The Governor using the proceeds of corruption or related to corruption invested the same by purchasing the four properties all situated in Karen in Nairobi County for 15 million each amounting to 60 million and built a residential house”, said the agency.

The agency has filed suit for recovery or confiscation of the 80,763,715.35 millions as proceeds of corruption and forfeiture of parcels of land acquired with the proceeds of corrupt conduct.

EACC application was supported by affidavit by the legal officer Diana Kenduiwa.

KIAMBU VOTER CHALLENGES CABINET SHUFFLE- ARGUES THAT DEPUTY GOVERNOR HAS NO SUCH POWERS.

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Embattled Governor Ferdinand Waititu with his deputy James Nyoro.

BY SAM ALFAN.

A Kiambu voter has challenged the decision Deputy Governor James Nyoro to reshuffle the county executive.

In a petition, Benard Chege Mburu argued that on September 6 2019, Nyoro, the Kiambu deputy governor published in the Kenya Gazette a notice purporting to reshuffle of the County Executive Committee Members, swapping CECs in charge of Finance an economic planning and that of Trade, Tourism, Cooperatives and Enterprise Development.

Chege wants the court to quash the purported reshuffle arguing that Nyoro does not have such powers.

He argues that Nyoro has not been appointed as acting Kiambu governor under the law and Article 179(5) of the constitution, which allows a deputy governor to exercise the powers of the Governor in their absence.

He said section 30(4) and (5) of the County Government Act in word and spirit, prohibits the DG from re-organizing or disturbing the structure of the County Government.

Chege further adds that on August 20, the Kiambu County Attorney gave an advisory stating that the DG did not have powers to reshuffle County Executive Committee members.

“DG Nyoro is purporting to exercise powers that he does not have it in law and the unlawful acts are a recipe for untold chaos in Kiambu County as they do not have the blessings of the Governor who is likely to revise them immediately or in future,” Chege said.

He argue that the DG is not the appointing authority so he has no authority to dismiss or reshuffle members of appointed by the embattled Governor Ferdinand Waititu and any decision, requires approval of the County assembly.

“The illegal acts of the DG will create a stalemate that will gravely affect service delivery to the people of Kiambu especially as one of the dockets affected is finance,” added Chege.

He also claims that as voters in Kiambu County, they voted for a governor whom they expected to deliver services to them while the Deputy Governor is a nominee of the Governor. The petition added that the law is very clear when a Deputy Governor is a nominee of the Governor and the law is very clear when a Deputy Governor assumes the office of the Governor, a situation which has not arisen.

He has named as respondents the DG,Attorney General, Governor Waititu and CECs Francis Njenga and Wilson Kangethe as Interested parties.

The voter also claim that it is in the public domain that the DG fell out with the Governor and his action is informed by malice and vendetta.

The CECs were interviewed before nomination and vetted by the County Assembly before appointment and found to quality for the specific dockets they were appointed for.

“Reshuffling them is both unlawful as sell as a smack to the principles of good governance as no process has been undertaken to ascertain of they affected CECs are fit, competent and have capacity to execute the new mandate,” he added.

Chege argue that the decision, if allowed to the stand, would set a dangerous precedent as deputy governors would usurp the authority of governors every time the later are either sick or temporarily away and seek to replace the appointees of the governors or restructure the County Government only for the governors to subsequently reverse such acts.

JUDGE HALTS ANGLO LEASING TRIAL PENDING DETERMINATION FILED BY DPP.

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The Kamani's and their co-accused before a Nairobi Court./FILE PHOTO.

BY SAM ALFAN.

The High Court has suspended the trail of suspects implicated in the Sh3.5 billion Anglo leasing pending the hearing of an application filed by the Director of Public Prosecutions.

Justice Jessie Lesit stayed the proceedings before trial Magistrate Martha Mutuku, who had earlier disallowed the prosecution to introduce additional evidence in the case.

“The order of stay of the proceedings in ACC NO. 4 of 2015 Rep-vs David Mwiraria and six others pending hearing and determination of the application for revision is hereby granted,” Lesiit ruled.

The DPP Noordin Haji filed application after he was denied the chance to introduce crucial evidence.

Mutuku had dismissed the application filed by Senior Assistant Prosecutor Nicholas Mutuku, who sought to call four more witnesses.

In the case former PSs Joseph Magari, Dave Mwangi and David Onyonka and businessmen Deepak and Rashmi Kamani, together with their father Rasmi Chamanlal have denied conspiring to defraud the Government over Sh 3.5 billion.

Prosecution had applied to have an officer identified as Kahiga from EACC, document examiner Jacob Prior, Samuel Kariuki from immigration department and Easther B. James from postal corporation testify in the trial. Tw of them were already in court but the magistrate declined the application saying it was too late in the day.

The prosecution had earlier been supplied with the witness statements and the documents the said witnesses to rely on which they acknowledged by signing an inventory.

Senior Counsel Ahmednasir Abdullahi for Deepak Kamani’s had opposed the application arguing that calling more witnesses would delay the matter and infringe on the accused persons right to a fair trial.

The defence further argued that since they were expecting the investigating officer and they had crystallized their defence on documents earlier supplied.

Prosecution responded saying they had disclosed the evidence in compliance with the law and prosecution case was still open after 45 witnesses testified.

“The defence have right to cross examined the intended witnesses and if they were at to seek adjournment and not object to calling of witness,” said Mutuku.

Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) deputy director Julius Muraya who gave evidence in the case told the court that he and his colleague interviewed Brirkenfeld who had been said to be a director of Infotalent Ltd, a company awarded a tender contract by Kenya Government. He said the businessman told the court that the signatures said to be his were forged and that he has never been a director that company.

Led in his evidence in chief by Mr Mutuku, Muraya who is also the head of the Mutual legal Unit told the court that they interviewed Birkenfeld by showing him a proposal by Infotalent systems a letter dated August 22,2003 purportedly written and signed by him.

 

He said that Brirkenfeld denied the signature, saying it is a forgery. Muraya said Brirkenfeld also denied having talked to or corresponded with any Kenyan Government officials over Infotalent contract.

The witness had and one John Kiilu traveled to Miami in Florida state where they conducted interview with Birkenfeld on June 11, 2015 in his lawyer’s office.

He said this was after the Attorney General made a request for mutual legal assistance to the Government of the United States of America in respect of Birkenfeld and Infotalent system Ltd.

Muraya said the request related to investigations into a contract for the procurement of a law and order system for the Kenya police known as “Project E-Cops” single sourced to Infotalent Ltd at a price of Euros 59,688,250 which contract was purportedly signed by Brirkenfeld in his capacity as a director.

He said that Birkenfeld through the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) indicated that he was willing to be interviews but in the presence of his advocate Gerald Greenberg at Miami in Florida State.

The court heard that one Mario Garcia Tariche, a special Agent with the FBI was tasked to oversee the interview.

“Owing to the fact that the denial tended to contradict contract which bore the signature of Birkenfeld, on February 11, 2015, the commission made  a request for mutual legal assistance to the Government of US to interview him in respect of his signature and the pre-contractual correspondence allegedly emanating  from the office of managing director Ifotalent systems Ltd and Infotalent Ltd in Switzerland,” said Muraya.

PRIORITY LTD, A COMPANY ASSOCIATED WITH DEPUTY PRESIDENT SAYS IT LEGALLY OWNS WESTON HOTEL LAND.

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Weston Hotel in Nairobi.

BY SAM ALFAN.

Priority Limited has said it is the bona-fide and legitimate registered owner of disputed land on which Weston Hotel in Nairobi stands.

While responding to a suit filed by Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA), the company said it has all rights of a registered owner, statutory in equity and fact and cannot be faulted through the petition filed.

“The 3rd respondent (Priority limited) asserts the Torrens common law doctrine. The register bearing our name as the registered owner, duly created, maintained, managed and controlled by the state, at the material times, serves as conclusive evidence of the ownership and indefeasibility of the priority Limited’s title as the proprietor and owners of all rights and interests on and over the land parcel,” said the company.

The company added that it was the owner of the land parcel to the exclusion of all others who are not registered including KCAA.

Priority limited further added that KCAA has no worthy evidence and has never been the owner or registered proprietor hence has no rights or entitlements to the parcel as pleaded in the petition.

“The allegations of improprieties, illegalities or fraud on its titles are false and KCAA is put to strict proof on each and every allegations made and have not been materially challenged by making argument which do not amount to constitute evidence of impropriety, illegality  or fraud as alleged.

The company denied any impropriety in its registration, unlawfulness on any allocation to the parcel land. It further denied committing any acts of illegality fraud, corruption on any dealings in relation to the parcel of land including allotments, registrations or conveyances.

Priority Limited also denies affecting any forcible eviction of the KCAA, DCA or any employees and allegations that it caused or is responsible the petitioner for any prejudice, inconvenience, and interruption of KCAA on account of any alleged or purported strategic location.

The company dismissed claims of grabbing any public land as alleged by KCAA and denied being beneficiary of any fraud or corruption allegedly abetted by the National Land Commission or by Weston Hotel Limited and Moment Investment Limited.

Priority Limited denied any allegations of conspiracy to defraud KCAA, any parcel party of its parcel and decline to admit any allegations on its dealing with the parcel.

The company further declined to admit effecting any conveyance of parcel at any under value and that any value placed on the parcel of land was at its discretion in the free market economy under which transaction is done and the company makes no admission on the alleged illegal sale.

Court blocked the valuation, sub-division, sale and transfer of the controversial land on which Weston Hotel in Nairobi stands.

The court stopped any plans on the controversial parcel, pending the outcome of the ownership dispute lodged by the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA).

Environment and Land Court Judge Bernard Eboso imposed the sanctions on National Land Commission (NLC), Weston Hotel Ltd, Priority Ltd and Monene Investments Ltd following and urgent application by the State agency.

The Judge stopped the implementation of the decision made by the NLC on January 25 allowing the owners of the hotel to pay compensation to the agency at the market value to enable it to purchase alternative land.

The disputed public land had been acquired by the defunct Directorate of Civil Aviation (DCA) in the early 1990s for the construction of its headquarters.

Justice Eboso directed lawyer Stephen Biko Ligunya to serve the three firms with court papers to facilitate the hearing of the matter on July 4.

In court papers, KACC argued that Priority Ltd and Monene Investments sold the land to Weston Hotel Ltd in June 2007 at the deliberately undervalued price of Sh10milion. The two firms, the documents state, then embarked on rapid construction without obtaining mandatory development approvals from relevant State regulatory agencies.

“They procured registration as owners of the land through illegality, fraud and corruption and forcibly evicted the DCA and its employees. They forcibly removed the DCA’s costly air navigation equipment and spares and dumped them at sites in Industrial Area and Athi River, causing their degradation from harsh exposure to the elements,” the agency protested in its petition lodged by Rachier and Amollo Advocates.

The owners of Weston Hotel Ltd had deliberately failed to comply with KCAA’s orders to stop construction, despite clear indications that the development along Langata Road posed a threat to air navigation at the adjacent Wilson Airport, the agency said.

THIKA BASED DISTILLER PLEADS WITH COURT TO UNFREEZE ITS ACCOUNTS.

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Three African Spirits Limited Peter Njenga, Robert Muriithi and Kepha Githu before Milimani Chief Magistrate Court on Friday August 9,2019./PHOTO BY S.A.N.

BY CORRESPONDENT.

Thika-based Africa Spirits Limited plant has filed an application seeking to set aside orders issued by a Kiambu court through miscellaneous application freezing its bank accounts for 90 days.

The court froze the accounts to allow the police conclude investigations on alleged tax evasion by the company.

The alcohol maker argued that the orders were obtained through the abuse of legal process, by misrepresentation and non-disclosure of material facts.

The company’s accounts at National Bank and Kenya Commercial bank were frozen after prosecution sought to have the funds in the accounts preserved, pending conclusion of investigations of tax evasion, running into billions of shillings.

In documents filed in court, the company says that the order freezing the accounts have rendered them unable to comply with another orders issued by Milimani Chief Magistrate Francis Andayi, which directed the company’s directors to deposit Sh11 million in court after denying charges of tax evasion.

“Unless the orders issues in Kiambu magistrate court misc. Criminal application Number 367 of 2019 preserving bank accounts of affected parties for 90 days are immediately stayed, affected persons, who are operational business and companies are likely to shut down their operations, default on their monthly statutory obligations such as NHIF, NSSF, PAYE, VAT etc all which will attract penalties and default in paying their workers and creditors, causing them grave suffering, harm and loss”, reads part of the application.

The company added that warrants issued in Kiambu court were illegal and unlawful as the magistrate had no jurisdiction to issue an order for preservation of the funds.

They also claim that the application by the DPP was an abuse of the court and legal process.

The firm further claim that the prosecution deliberately misled the court that they are investigating offences of failure to pay taxes, being in possession of customised goods and being in possession of counterfeit stamps, yet the same were made at the time of making allegation relation to three cases pending before Milimani chief magistrate.

“If the orders are not immediately stayed and set aside, they will certainly cause grave harm, loss and dame to the companies, indignity of their employees, suppliers and creditors will suffer,” claims the company.

Three employees of Africa Spirits limited employees are facing tax evasion worth over Sh40 billion.

Peter Njenga, Robert Muriithi and Kepha Githu appeared in court and denied the charges before chief magistrate Francis Andayi.

Other accused persons led by Humphrey Kariuki Ndegwa, Stuart Gerald Herd, Geoffrey Kaaria Githinji and Simon Maundu, are still at large.

The accused persons together with African Spirits Limited and Wow Beverages limited are accused several charges among them evading tax, six counts of fraud in relation to tax, two counts of aiding commission of a tax offence.

In the second file, the eight accused persons face charges of being in possession of unaccustomed goods values at Sh7.4 million and conspiring to defraud the government of Kenya tax of Sh5.7 million.

The last file contains charges of being in possession of 12 reels of counterfeit excise stamps, five counts of aiding commission of a tax offence, four counts of being in possession of excisable goods affixed with counterfeit excise stamps.