High Court thwarts Humphrey Kariuki’s Ksh.17 billion tax evasion claim by KRA
Businessman, Humphrey Kariuki’s Ksh.17 billion tax evasion onslaught by the state has been thwarted by the High Court.
In a ruling, Monday, Justice Anthony Mrima said that the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) and the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) drafted a charge sheet against Kariuki and his partners which is against the law.
“Drawing the above finding to the impugned provision, it means that whereas KRA can investigate any offences relating to tax laws, it cannot prosecute such offences in court,” said Justice Mrima.
Kariuki’s case resumed in October 25 last year and was being prosecuted by counsels from the KRA after the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Noordin Haji delegated his prosecutorial powers.
Justice Mrima termed the move by DDP Haji illegal.
He said the DPP willingly and unconstitutionally abrogated his mandate by appointing three KRA officers to handle the case.
Kariuki and his co-accused had been charged with failing to pay taxes amounting to Ksh.17 billion.
This offence, according to the agencies, was committed on February 2016 and December 2018.
Kariuki and the partners also faced another count of being in possession of excise stamps acquired without the authority of the commissioner.
It was alleged that between January 31, 2019 and February 7, 2019 at Africa Spirits Limited and WOW Beverages Limited within Thika Town in Kiambu county, they were jointly found in possession of 894 reels of counterfeit excise stamps acquired without the authority of the commissioner.
They also faced another count of being in possession of 1.2 million bottles of assorted alcoholic beverages affixed with counterfeit Excise stamps picked in 41,703 cartons.
According to the charge sheet, Kariuki and the team knowingly omitted from the VAT returns of Africa Spirits limited an amount of Ksh.2 billion which ought to have been included in the said returns.
And between January and December 2018, they knowingly omitted from the return of excise of Africa spirits limited another amount of Sh5 billion which ought to have been included in the said returns.
Kariuki had defended himself saying that the charges leveled against him were “untrue, without merit, fabricated” and intended to tarnish his name.
“I am a law abiding citizen who believes in the rule of law. The allegations leveled against me are untrue, without merit, fabricated and intended to use the judicial process to tarnish my name,” said Kariuki.
He said that neither he nor any of his companies has an outstanding tax dispute with the KRA.
“I affirm that I have no outstanding tax dispute with the Kenya Revenue Authority, and that I do not manage any company that has a tax dispute with the KRA. Therefore any allegation linking me to tax evasion is false and is made in bad faith,” he said.