Kenya: Billionaire Humphrey Kariuki Challenges Dual Citizenship Law

Billionaire Humphrey Kariuki, the owner Africa Spirits Limited.

Business tycoon Humphrey Kariuki Ndegwa, the owner of Africa Spirits Limited who is facing a tax evasion investigation, has moved to court to challenge a law on the declaration of dual citizenship.

Detectives who questioned Mr Kariuki on the alleged evasion of taxes amounting to Sh3 billion were surprised by the realisation that he is a citizen of Cyprus.

The Nation exclusively learnt that he was questioned on the dual citizenship and on why he had not disclosed it as required by law.

The businessman took court action on Tuesday, his goal being the suspension of the section of the law that specifies a punishment for failure to disclose dual citizenship.

He is challenging provisions of Section 8(4) of the Immigration Act which prescribes a fine of Sh5 million, three years' imprisonment, or both, if one fails to disclose this status within three months of acquiring it.

Mr Kariuki wants the law suspended and eventually declared unconstitutional.

THE PROBE

Africa Spirits, which is based in Thika, was shutdown on February 8 after illegal ethanol and fake Kenya Revenue Authority stamps were found during an inspection.

During the raid, police seized an estimated 21 million counterfeit excise stamps and 312,000 litres of illicit products valued at Sh1.2 billion.

Later, the Kenya Revenue Authority obtained orders freezing 11 accounts associated with the businessman over the alleged evasion of taxes amounting to Sh3 billion.

The accounts are scattered in seven banks, including Equity, National Bank of Kenya and Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB), and are linked to three companies associated with Mr Kariuki.

While commenting on the investigation, Director of Criminal Investigations George Kinoti said they were not only concerned about Mr Kariuki's Cypriot passport -- number K0627485, which was issued on May 19, 2016 and which he has not handed in - but also about four the Kenyan passports he has held.

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