Kenya: Court Told Officer Jumped Off Moving Car After Trader's Threat to Shoot Him

15 October 2019

A trader who allegedly threatened to kill a police officer attached to the Kenya Revenue Authority over a Sh162 million tax has been charged in court.

Hassan Ahmednur Baricha, who threatened to shoot police officer Solomon Laikera, will be detained at the Industrial Area Prison after the prosecution opposed his release on bond.

Mr Baricha, whose arrest order was given last Friday, surrendered to the court then applied to be released on bond in the tax evasion case.

DANGEROUS

But KRA, through Prosecutor Nelly Ngovi, opposed his request, saying the accused "was a dangerous person who had threatened the life of a tax enforcement officer by placing a gun on his head".

Ms Ngovi told Senior Principal Magistrate Peter Ooko that the action of the accused merited a denial of bond.

"The accused is a dangerous person who not only threatened the life of a police officer Solomon Laikera seconded to KRA by the Director of Criminal Investigations but has also declined to receive a tax demand notice," Ms Ngovi said.

PENALTY

She said the law permits a court to deny a suspect bond if the penalty of the alleged offence is punishable by 10 years or more or a fine double the amount of the unremitted tax.

Ms Ngovi said if Mr Baricha will be convicted he could be sentenced to 10 years imprisonment and a fine of Sh324 million.

"I therefore urge this court to deny the accused bond as the serious penalty likely to be imposed is an incentive to jump bail," Ms Ngovi.

She said as result of the threat, the officer had to jump from a moving vehicle and he hurt his hip and suffered other serious injuries "while trying to save his life".

CASE REPORTED

She said the matter was reported to the Railways Police Station for action against the accused who is a licenced gun holder.

But a defence lawyer urged the magistrate to uphold the accused's constitutional rights, saying no compelling reasons were given to make the court deny Mr Baricha bond.

The accused, who is a director of Hanamal Construction Company, has denied flouting the tax rules between 2015, 2016 and 2017 by fraudulently falsifying tax returns and earnings totalling to Sh162,059,273.

UNPAID REVENUE

At the same time, a Chinese investor denied failing to remit Sh23 million in revenue.

Zhang Xiaodong and his company Tiany Limited denied omitting from the company's returns an income of Sh23 million which ought to have been included in the earnings of 2017.

He also denied failing to pay a corporation tax of Sh6,781,634.

He denied the charges through a Chinese interpreter and was released on Sh1 million cash bail.

He was also ordered to deposit his passport in court.

Mr Ooko directed the case to be mentioned on October 28 for further directions.

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