Wanted tycoon Humphrey Kariuki is no longer the chairman of Janus Continental Group (JCG), a communication from the entity’s human resource department indicates.
Kariuki is on security radar following claims of tax evasion in Kenya amounting to Sh41 billion and other charges preferred against him by Director of Public Prosecution Noordin Haji.
A statement signed by Hellen Akello, Chief Human Resource Officer Janus Continental Group says Kariuki stepped down as the chair of the board in light of development in the investigation process. “Humphrey Kariuki explained that this will allow him to focus his efforts on challenging claims in the courts,” reads the statement.
“In the meantime, the Board has come to the decision that Managing Director Margaret Mbaka shall be stepping in as Acting Chair of the Board, with support of Chief Executive Officer Rikin Shah.”
Janus Continental Group has an interest in the energy, real estate, hospitality and conservation matters.
The group has key energy projects in Zambia, Kenya, Uganda, and Mozambique as well as dozens of others in incubation.
Its Dalbit Petroleum services the aviation, mining, manufacturing, transport and humanitarian sectors in the African region.
Sources close to tycoon Humphrey Kariuki 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.
Lawyers close to him say the businessman, travelling 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 the 5-star Fairmont Mt Kenya Safari Club, The up-scale Hub shopping mall in Karen, Nairobi , private planes, 89 vehicles and bank accounts of 31 firms linked to him.
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.
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 Fairmont 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 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.
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), Robert Thinji Muriithi (two) and Anne Wanjiru Ndung’u (one).
In September 2018, Dalbit Petroleum which is associated with him won UN tender worth Sh 796 million deal to fuel United Nations' planes in Uganda and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
An article appearing in Forbes magazine lists Dalbit Petroleum as one of the businesses Kariuki has built over the last three decades. Others include The Hub - a premier shopping mall located in Karen, Nairobi; Africa Spirits, Kenya’s leading manufacturer of Alcoholic beverages; and Great Lakes Africa Energy, a U.K-based company that is a developer and operator of power projects in Southern Africa.