DPP consolidates case against businessman Humphrey Kariuki
By Pkemoi Ng'enoh | April 16th 2021
The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Noordin Haji has consolidated two tax-related cases against businessman Humphrey Kariuki and seven others.
In the consolidated case, the DPP has filed only 11 charges instead of the 19 he had proffered in the two previous cases.
At the same time, the DPP has delegated his powers to the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) to prosecute the case.
Defence lawyers however raised concern after the prosecution failed to obey a court order that directed the handing over of the Thika-based liquor factory to its owners.
The lawyers had objected at the request by KRA to have the hearing of the case at the factory saying the DPP and KRA are in contempt of court for failing to hand over the factory despite an order to do so.
They said the request is meant to delay the case which is yet to be heard more than two years after the accused persons were charged in court.
Kariuki and his co-accused were previously charged with three different cases in relation to tax offences. Apart from the two which were consolidated today, the third one was thrown out by the court in December 2020. Senior Principal Magistrate Kennedy Cheruiyot acquitted Kariuki and seven others after the DPP failed to present witnesses.
Freeing Kariuki alongside directors of alcohol manufacturer - Africa Spirits Limited, WOW Beverages Limited, Messrs Peter Njenga, Robert Mureithi, Simon Maundu, and Kefa Gakure, the Magistrate said the DPP failed in his constitutional function of presenting witnesses.
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The Magistrate said the DPP failed to observe Article 50 of the constitution to avail witnesses within a reasonable time. He stated the article requires the DPP to ensure cases are disposed of expeditiously.
At the same time, the court agreed with lawyers Senior Counsels Kioko Kilukumi and Philip Murgor, and Cecil Miller that the case had been pending in court for the last 16 months.
“The delay in leading evidence, in this case, amounts to violating the fundamental and constitutional rights of the accused who have religiously attended this trial for 16 months,” said Cheruiyot.
Kariuki was acquitted in the case where he was charged with being in possession of 80 drums of unaccustomed goods (ethanol) worth Sh7.4m at ASL and WOW’s premises in Thika, Kiambu County.
Nairobi Chief Magistrate Francis Andayi has also directed that cash bail and any other security held in court in the case that was terminated today be released to the accused persons.
Describing the conduct of the prosecution in this matter as ‘recalcitrant’, the Magistrate decried the failure by the prosecution to provide inventoried evidence for over 2 years which has hindered pre-trial. He set 6 May for pre-trial and expressed his hope that the prosecution would comply this time.
The consolidated case will now be heard on May 31.
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