Economy

Court allows billionaire Jubilee Party sponsor to travel to Turkey for furniture

Mary Wambui Mungai

Billionaire Jubilee party campaign financier Mary Wambui Mungai. NMG PHOTO

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Summary

  • An anti-corruption court on Wednesday allowed businesswoman and Jubilee Party financier Mary Wambui Mungai to travel to Turkey next month for the purchase of furniture for a hotel she is putting up in Nairobi.
  • While allowing Ms Mungai's application, Chief Magistrate Felix Kombo directed her to get a surety. 

An anti-corruption court on Wednesday allowed businesswoman and Jubilee Party financier Mary Wambui Mungai to travel to Turkey next month for the purchase of furniture for a hotel she is putting up in Nairobi.

While allowing Ms Mungai's application, Chief Magistrate Felix Kombo directed her to get a surety. 

Ms Mungai on Monday told the court 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 the Sh2.2 billion tax evasion case.

Ms Mungai 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 said 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.

The businesswoman and her daughter Ms Purity Njoki presented themselves in court last year December after escaping a police dragnet over the Sh2.2 billion tax evasion case.

Investigators told the court on Monday that they have established that between 2014 and 2019 Purma Holdings omitted from its income tax returns income of Sh4.5 billion thereby resulting in a tax liability of Sh2.2 billion.

Further, Mr Francis Barasa, an officer attached to DCI, said the investigations revealed that she is a director and beneficial owner of seven other companies that defaulted on 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.