Kenya: Court Suspends Order Freezing Humprey Kariuki's Property Over Tax Evasion

Photo: Capital FM
Billionaire Humphrey Kariuki.
15 August 2019

Nairobi — A Nairobi Court has extended stay orders baring the seizure of movable property belonging to companies associated with billionaire Humphrey Kariuki pending conclusion of an investigation being carried out by the Directorate of Criminal Investigation (DCI).

Milimani Resident Magistrate Muthoni Nzibe on Thursday stayed the orders issued after Humphrey Kariuki, Africa Spirits Limited and Wow Beverages Limited filed an application under a certificate of urgency claiming orders issued on August 9, have the effect of shutting down, crippling and ruining the operations of WoW Beverages Limited unless they are suspended.

Last Friday the court issued orders authorizing Chief Inspector Peter Oruko to search places in building, ships, aircrafts (PC12 ZS-TDL and Bombardier T7-DNK), vehicles, companies and boxes belonging to Kariuki and the two companies where he has shareholding.

They argued that the court erred in granting permanent orders for the seizure, restraining, detaining and freezing Kariuki's, Africa Spirits Limited and Wow Beverages Limited property and those of persons at the initial stage without hearing the parties affected by the order.

The three applied for the court to stay the orders issued on August 9 including any further implementation or execution of the said orders pending hearing and determination of their case.

Chief Inspector Oruko was also ordered to forthwith and on their own costs restore back any property that they may have seized , detained, restrained, preserved or frozen in implementing the orders dated August 9,2019.

They argued that none of the assets sought to be searched, restrained, detained , frozen or preserved are subject of any of the criminal cases before the Milimani chief Magistrate court.

The lawyer added that the large portion of Wow Beverages Limited assets sought to be seized and detained were acquired before the period in which the charges alleged in the three criminal cases and the property were acquired well before the proceeds of crimes and Anti-Money laundering Act came to force.

He said Director of Public Prosecution application was in bad faith, contrary to the administration of justice and he usurp powers not vested to him.

"The application dated August 9,2019 was deliberately made in bad faith and with malice, as the applicant having become aware that the respondents ( Humphrey Kariuki , Africa Spirits Limited and Wow Beverages Limited) did not take plea on August 9 and that the said plea had been deferred to August 19, moved to the seize and preserve all their accounts and movable assets so that the respondents would be unable to post bond or pay cash bail," their lawyer submitted.

The lawyer added that there was no evidence of any risk of dissipation of any of the assets placed before the court or at all and the orders issued on August 9,2019 were meant only to shut down the operations and business of the WoW Beverages Limited unjustly.

WoW Beverages Limited engages exclusively in the importation and distribution of finished alcoholic and non-alcoholic products which is registered for tax purposes under a unique Pin No. P051115864C as provided in law.

The application will be heard on August 21.

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