The long arm of the law is finally catching up with billionaire Humphrey Kariuki, following a greenlight by the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) for Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) to handle the case.
The move will see KRA probe afresh the KShs. 41 billion tax evasion case, which had earlier exposed Mr Kariuki as untouchable, amidst a series of Court proceedings and gagged publicity.
Embattled billionaire, Kariuki was charged on August 9, 2019, with the DPP opening three different files number 1333,1334 and 1342 on several counts, including forgery, money laundering and tax evasion. These cases were being handled by different magistrates.
The accused among others were alleged to have failed to pay taxes, falsified and omitted records from the Value Added Tax and concealed excise stamp duties between February 2016 to December 2018, leading to a tax loss of Sh41 billion.
The case has now been opened afresh; the DPP on Friday, April 16, combined two tax evasion-related cases against Mr. Kariuki’s Africa Spirits Limited (ASL) and seven other people. The DPP further reduced the number of charges from 19 to 11 in the case filed before Milimani Chief Magistrate Francis Andayi.
Three KRA officers have been gazetted to handle the case. The accused, Kariuki, Peter Njenga, Robert Murithi, Geoffrey Kinoti, Kepha Gakure, Simon Maundu, Africa Spirits Limited and Wow Beverages pleaded afresh to fraud and tax evasion claims.
In the fresh charge, Mr Kariuki and his co-accused were charged with failing to pay taxes amounting to KShs. 17 Billion, a huge disparity from the earlier KShs. 41 Billion charge. The accused also face a charge of being in possession of excise stamps acquired without the KRA Commissioner’s authority.
Alongside the existing charges, the accused have also been charged for being in possession of 1.2 million bottles of assorted alcoholic beverages affixed with counterfeit excise stamps picked in 41,703 cartons.
The government is up in arms to ensure that no corruption case goes unpunished as per the set regulations. Through the multi-agency framework, which has been active in supporting inter-agency collaborations in the fight against corruption, the ODPP and KRA are vigilant to prosecute fraudulent businessmen and tax evaders in order to promote integrity and accountability.