Hunt for tycoon shifts to South Africa

A billionaire wanted on claims of Sh41 billion tax evasion was last seen in South Africa before heading to Mozambique where he has business interests. 

Sources close to reclusive tycoon Humphrey Kariuki (pictured) said he was in Johannesburg last Thursday and was to travel to Maputo. 

He is said to have indicated that he would make a stopover at Lusaka, Zambia before heading to Dubai.

SEE ALSO: Haji's efforts to freeze billionaire Kariuki's assets blocked by court

Lawyers close to him say the businessman, traveling using a Cyprus passport, has scaled down his operations in Kenya.

“He has moved to Southern Africa, where he is a big name. He has vast interests in Mozambique, Zambia, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Angola and DRC,” the lawyer said. 

The State is seeking to seize Kariuki’s 5-star hotel, a multi-million shilling mall, private planes, 89 vehicles and bank accounts of 31 firms linked to him.

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Also being sought are 14 directors of the firms associated with the billionaire.

A search warrant was granted by a Milimani law court for detectives to search places, buildings, ships, air crafts, vehicles, bank accounts and companies that Kariuki has a share in following an application by Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji.

SEE ALSO: 2019 review: Bad year for the big shots

The court also allowed detectives to seize, detain and freeze any property in respect to the search warrant. However, nothing has been seized so far.

On Saturday, detectives from the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI), led by Economic Crime Unit boss Michael Sang, went to Mt Kenya Safari Club in search of some of Kariuki’s assets.

Detectives found an empty hangar and a small aircraft with Kenyan registration. They also found an old model Toyota Land Cruiser VX. Two private jets said to belong to the tycoon were missing.

The assets the State wants to seize include the 5-Star Fairmount Mt Kenya Safari Club, shareholding and management firms running The Hub in Karen, Africa Wine Spirits, Wow Beverages limited and Dalbit Petroleum Ltd.

Wow Beverages limited, whose listed directors are Humphrey Kariuki Thinji and Stuart Gerard Herd, has 30 vehicles on the radar of detectives. The State also wants to seize nine vehicles and three motorcycles linked to Dalbit Petroleum, whose directors are Kariuki and Margaret Karimi Mbaka.

SEE ALSO: Kariuki tax evasion case stalls over files

Africa Wine Spirits has eight vehicles and 13 motorcycles, Woodwork Properties Ltd has five cars and is linked to Nyawira Kariuki. Rine Heart limited, whose directors are Matheka Oscar Musyoka and Kepha Githu Gakure has five vehicles on the detectives’ radar.

Detectives also got orders to freeze several bank accounts of firms linked to Kariuki. They include 12 bank accounts at Kenya Commercial Bank and three at National Bank of Kenya.

Other firms on the detectives’ radar are Woodwork Properties Ltd, Rine Heart Ltd, Mugumo Gardens Ltd and Crosskey Investments Ltd linked to rally driver Alistair Mark Cavenagh.

Others are Kigumba Ltd, Quality Farm Produce Ltd, Wines of the World Wine Shop and Bar Ltd, Soko Ltd, Valley Oak Properties Ltd, Hetima Ltd and Axis Logistics Ltd.

Fatiha Ltd, Section Investment Ltd, GL Africa Energy Ltd, Janus Continental Group Ltd, Bataleur Ltd, The Hub Karen Management Co Ltd, Belgravia Construction Ltd, 90 JGO Management, Azalea Holdings Ltd, Kisima Management Company and Barangeni Ltd are also said to be linked to Kariuki.

Mt Kenya Safari Club Holdings, where Kariuki and Margaret Karimi Mbaka are directors, Crucial Properties Ltd, Bagala Ltd, Erba Ltd, Belgravia Real Estate Ltd, and Windy Ridge Estate Management Ltd complete the list of 31 firms.

Court records show up to 28 vehicles registered in the names of 14 directors are also being sought. They include Kariuki (one), Nyawira Kariuki (one), Margaret Karimi Mbaka (four), Alastair Mark Cavenagh (four), Matheka Oscar (one), Kepha Githu Gakure (two), Stuart Gerald Herd (five), Claudine Mathis (one), Susan Waithera Waithaka (two), Peter Shikari Menza (one motorcycle and three vehicles), Robrt Thinji Muriithi (two) and Anne Wanjiru Ndung’u (one).

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Humphrey Kariukitax evasion