Economy

Billionaire Jubilee Party sponsor asks to travel to Turkey for furniture

Mary Wambui Mungai

Billionaire Jubilee party campaign financier Mary Wambui Mungai. NMG PHOTO

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Summary

  • Billionaire Jubilee party campaign financier Mary Wambui Mungai has asked a city court to allow her travel to Turkey to inspect furniture she has acquired in Istanbul for a hotel under construction in Nairobi.
  • Ms Mungai told chief magistrate Felix Kombo that she needs to travel to Turkey on February 24, for pre-inspection and approval of the furniture her company has acquired. 

Billionaire Jubilee party campaign financier Mary Wambui Mungai has asked a city court to allow her travel to Turkey to inspect furniture she has acquired in Istanbul for a hotel under construction in Nairobi.

Ms Mungai told chief magistrate Felix Kombo that she needs to travel to Turkey on February 24, for pre-inspection and approval of the furniture her company has acquired. 

The prosecution, however, opposed the plea for the release of her passport saying she might flee the country and conduct her business from abroad where she can comfortably afford, thereby delaying her trial in Sh2.2 billion tax evasion case.

While being released by the court in December, Ms Mungai and her daughter Purity Njoki were directed to deposit their passports in court and to never leave the country without the permission of the magistrate. 

Monday, she told the court that a company identified as Sagist Group has invited her for an inspection of the furniture. 

“I am required to travel to Turkey for a pre-inspection and approval of furniture prototypes in satisfaction of the terms of a contract for manufacture and supply of hotel furniture between Glee Hotel ltd, a company in which I am the principal director and shareholder and Sagist Group, a hotel furniture factory in Istanbul, Turkey,” she said in an affidavit. 

She says failure to travel might occasion her company financial losses. The businesswoman promised to return the passport to court immediately she jets back in the country.

But an investigator told the court that the businesswoman has not disclosed her return date and Glee hotel is being investigated by the police for failing to pay taxes amounting to Sh180 million. 

The investigator further told the court that Glee Hotel Limited has two other directors with substantial shareholding, as per documents retrieved from the Registrar of Companies.

“The applicant has not established the inadequacy of one director who has not been charged before this court to conduct the business of the company and she cannot therefore purport to be the only one capable of effecting the terms of the contract between the company and Sagist Group Supplier,” Mr Francis Barasa, an officer attached to DCI said.

The officer said besides delegating the inspection tour to a co-director, Ms Mungai can employ the services of an expert to do the same on behalf of her company.

Mr Barasa said investigations conducted has established that between 2014 and 2019 Purma Holdings had omitted from its income tax returns income Sh4.5 billion thereby resulting in a tax liability of Sh2.2 billion.

Besides Purma, investigations further revealed that she is a director and beneficial owner of seven other companies that defaulted in their respective tax obligations between 2014 and 2019 and were served with tax investigations findings for a total tax liability of Sh806 million.

“The tax implication flowing from Purma Holdings Limited and the related companies is quite enormous and we are apprehensive that the applicant may flee to avoid recovery of the established taxes or the likelihood of further charges being instituted against her in relation to the aforesaid companies on tax evasion,” he said.

Mr Kombo will decide on the application Wednesday.