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Court declines to freeze Humphrey Kariuki’s accounts

Humphrey Kariuki
Billionaire businessman Humphrey Kariuki. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) suffered a major blow Wednesday when the High Court declined to reinstate an order freezing accounts of nine companies associated with troubled billionaire businessman Humphrey Kariuki.

Mr Kariuki has been embroiled in a Sh41 billion tax evasion case.

Justice Luka Kimaru said he will not grant the application by the DPP to order the companies not to remove colossal sums of money held in two banks after a Kiambu Court unfroze the accounts last Friday.

“I will not grant the status quo orders sought by the DPP. The accounts issues which are contested are yet to be canvassed by the parties,” Justice Kimaru said.

State prosecutor Catherine Mwaniki had urged the court to order a status quo by directing the companies whose accounts had been frozen not to remove the monies therein.

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Ms Mwaniki sought to be allowed to file written submissions in answer to allegations raised by Mr Kariuki challenging the filing of three similar criminal cases in Thika and Milimani on tax evasion, being in possession of fake tax stamps and being in illegal possession of ethanol worth Sh7 million.

Ms Mwaniki applied to adjourn the case to enable the DPP file evidence and written submissions.

The plea to reinstate orders freezing the accounts was opposed by lawyers Cecil Miller and McMillan Ouma.

Mr Miller said Africa Spirits Limited (ASL) which has filed the case at the Milimani High Court has said the freezing of the accounts held by the nine companies at National Bank of Kenya (NBK) and KCB threatens jobs of over 3,000 employees.

The companies whose accounts were frozen include Wow Beverages, Dalbit Petroleum Limited, Rhine Hart Limited, Section Investments Limited, Janus Continental Group Limited, Belgravia Construction Limited, Azalea Holdings Limited, Kisima Management Company Limited and ASL’s account at NBK.

Justice Kimaru fixed the case to be heard on September 24.

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