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Reprieve for tycoon as bank accounts freeze suspended

Humphrey Kariuki
Billionaire businessman Humphrey Kariuki. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Billionaire businessman Humphrey Kariuki who is being sought over a Sh41 billion tax evasion case got a temporary reprieve Thursday when orders freezing his property and bank accounts were suspended.

Resident magistrate Muthoni Nzibe directed police not to attach his aircraft currently parked at Wilson Airport and at Safari Park Hotel, ships, 45 motor vehicles as well as movable and immovable properties belonging to Mr Kariuki and his two companies African Spirits Limited and Wow Beverages Limited (WBL) pending determination of a case filed in court.

Ms Nzibe noted with concern that the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) on August 9, 2019 was directed to file in court an inventory list of the properties attached and bank accounts but as at August 15 had not filed any.

“It’s seven days today (Thursday) and the DPP has not filed any inventory to enable this court make proper directives. He did not comply with orders of this court,” said Ms Nzibe. The magistrate said the orders she gave on August 9 lapsed yesterday and went ahead to extend suspension of the freeze orders pending determination of the two cases filed by the DPP and WBL.

But state prosecutor Catherine Mwaniki said seize orders have been served at Wilson Airport and Safari Park Hotel where Mr Kariuki’s aircraft are.

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“We have not frozen the bank accounts of Mr Kariuki but this court’s orders have been served at Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB) and National Bank Limited (NBK) so that monies are not moved,” the investigating officer told the magistrate.

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