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Firm seeks order to unfreeze bank accounts linked to tycoon Humphrey Kariuki

Humphrey Kariuki
Businessman Humphrey Kariuki. PHOTO | DENNIS ONSONGO | NMG 

A company has moved to court seeking orders to unfreeze the accounts of nine companies associated with billionaire businessman Humphrey Kariuki who has been charged with Sh41 billion tax evasion.

Africa Spirits Limited (ASL) filed a case under a certificate of urgency seeking to lift orders issued by Kiambu Chief Magistrate on August 16 freezing accounts of nine companies with a large workforce.

Lady Justice Jessie Lessit was told the frozen accounts are held at the National Bank of Kenya (NBK) and the Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB).

Besides unfreezing the bank accounts, lawyer Cecil Miller urged the court to suspend the hearing of the tax evasion case pending before Chief Magistrate Martha Mutuku at the Milimani Law Courts and another at the Thika Law Courts.

Mr Miller, who is appearing with Benjamin Musyoki for ASL, said the orders issued by the Kiambu courts are illegal as the affected parties were not included in the case by the Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji.

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Mr Miller told the judge the orders granted freezing the nine accounts are to last for 90 days.

Stay orders

"I urge this court to stay the orders issued on August 16 to enable ASL to mitigate the ruinous, prejudicial and detrimental harm, loss and damages to the companies whose accounts have been preserved," he pleaded.

ASL has named Mr Haji and the Inspector-General of Police as the respondents.

ASL has also named Wow Beverages, NBK, KCB, the chief magistrate Milimani, the chief magistrate Kiambu and the chief magistrate Thika as interested parties.

Justice Lesiit directed Mr Miller to serve the Attorney-General on behalf of the three chief magistrate courts, NBK and KCB with the court papers to file response.

State Prosecutor Catherine Mwaniki for Mr Haji and the IG urged the court to be allowed more time to file affidavits in answer to the allegations by ASL.

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