Economy

Reprieve for tycoon Kariuki as he is allowed 74 days travel out of Kenya

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Mr Humphrey Kariuki. FILE PHOTO | NMG

A Nairobi court has allowed billionaire Humphrey Kariuki to travel outside Kenya for 74 days to attend to his overseas businesses.

Mr Kariuki is facing a Sh41 billion tax evasion case.

Releasing to Mr Kariuki his two passports temporarily, senior principal magistrate Kennedy Cheruiyot said the accused cannot conduct his international trade through phone.

“Kariuki is an international businessman who requires to travel frequently out of the country to attend to his businesses overseas,” Mr Cheruiyot stated.

He concurred with defence lawyer Cecil Miller who is appearing jointly with Rubeena Dar for the tycoon that the businesses require personal attention of the investor.

The magistrate allowed Kariuki to travel to Mozambique, Democratic Republic of Congo and Zambia.

Requesting Mr Cheruiyot to release the travel documents to the suspect in the tax evasion case, Mr Miller said: “The businessman has religiously adhered to orders and has been turning up for mentions of the three tax-related cases against him and others.”

Mr Miller told the magistrate that in the past, the international trader had returned his two passports to the court which are detained as a bail condition, and he turns up for the trial of the three cases.

“I have perused the other files and established that Mr Kariuki has obeyed court orders by returning the passports to the court after temporary release,” Mr Cheruiyot said.

He released the passports until May 22, 2020.

Mr Kariuki had applied for the release of his Kenya and Cypriot passports through Mr Miller to travel abroad to tend to his vast business interests.

The reclusive billionaire is said to have vast interests in the beverages, energy, real estate and hospitality industries under the Janus Continental Group.

Entities in his stable include Dalbit Petroleum, a fuel distributor and Great Lakes Energy, a company that Forbes reports was awarded Sh40 billion by the Mozambican government for an energy project.

He also holds ownership of the Hub mall in Karen and Fairmont Mount Kenya Safari club in Nanyuki together with Africa Spirits Limited and Wow Beverages Limited in Thika.

Mr Kariuki has denied charges of failing to pay Sh41 billion in tax, among other claims.