BY SAM ALFAN.
Business tycoon Humphrey Kariuki has finally presented himself in court this morning after many days of playing hide and seek with the DCI.
The businessman who holds dual citizenship, Kenyan and Cyprus appeared in court this morning to answer to 21 charges in relation to tax evasion of over Sh41 billion.
Kariuki and directors of Wow Beverages and Africa Spirits are accused of deliberately failing to pay taxes of Ksh.17,782,553,085 payable to the Commissioner Domestic taxes, as required by the law.
He is also accused of omitting from the return of income of Africa Spirits limited an amount of Ksh.2,022,340,210 payable to the commissioner Domestic taxes thereby affecting tax liability.
In total Kariuki faces 21 counts on counts related to tax evasion, fraud, being in possession of un-customized goods and aiding the commission of a tax offence. He denied the charges before chief Magistrate Francis Andayi at the Milimani Law Courts.
Kariuki’s lawyer Kioko Kilukumi submitted that the accused person be released on reasonable bail terms as it was his constitutional right. He said there were no compelling reason from the prosecution to deny him bail.
Kilukumi added that his client learnt from the media that summons had been issued and as a result he travelled back to the country to plead to the charges.
The prosecution pleaded with the court to detain the Businessman for one day, as they verified from his passports whether there are any exit or entry stamps. This, the court hear, will enable the prosecution know whether he is a flight risk or not.
However Kilukumi termed the submission by prosecution as malicious and abuse of prosecutorial powers. “All that can be done in hours without taking away the liberty of the accused person,” he said.
In his ruling, Andayi stated that Prosecution has not tabled any evidence or documents to show they needed more time to verify the passport. “It will be discriminatory to treat the 1st accused person differently therefore the court finds no good reason to detain the accused person, “said Andayi.
Kariuki was however ordered to appear before DCI within six hours after his release for processing. He was ordered to deposit cash bail of Sh11 million to secure his release.
Earlier, the other accused were charged and denied the charges.