Two traders charged with Sh3.2bn tax evasion

Mr Dhavai Vinobhai Soni (right) and Mr
Mr Dhavai Vinobhai Soni (right) and Mr Bhupathiraju Maheswara Varma -- who are accused of tax evasion -- with one of their lawyers, Edward Oonge, after a session at the Milimani Law Courts, Nairobi, on November 7, 2018. PHOTO | RICHARD MUNGUTI | NMG 

Two traders have been charged with failing to remit to the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) revenue running over Sh3.2 billion within a span of two years.

Mr Dhavai Vinobhai Soni, Mr Bhupathiraju Maheswara Varma and their company Shreeji Enterprises (K) Limited were charged at the Milimani law Courts Nairobi.

They denied eight counts of claiming value added tax (VAT), falsifying books of accounts, affecting payment of VAT, making incorrect statements about VAT paid, failing to remit VAT and failing to pay tax.

Mr Soni, a director of Shreeji Enterprises and Mr Varma, the financial controller, have denied the eight counts filed against them by the KRA prosecutors.

Mr Soni and the company are accused of claiming VAT which they were not entitled to amounting to Sh454,867,754 from the Commissioner of Domestic Taxes (CDT).

Mr Varma has been accused of aiding Shreeji Enterprises Kenya Limited in preparing false books of accounts thereby affecting payment of Sh1,435,351,386 between January 20, 2016 and December 20, 2017 to CDT.

Sh3,268,065,307 total amount

Mr Soni and Shreeji face another count of making an incorrect statement of VAT thereby affecting payment of revenue amounting to Sh454,867,754 to CDT.

Soni is also accused defaulting in tax obligations to remit VAT of Sh454,867,754 by the due date.

Mr Soni and Shreeji are further accused of failing to pay corporation tax amounting to Sh478,619,659 to CDT between April 1, 2016 and March 2017.

The total amounts involved are Sh3,268,065,307.

When the case came up for hearing, a defence lawyer David Oyatta applied to have the matter adjourned to enable him attend to a High Court matter.

February date

The prosecution did not oppose the request for adjournment.

The court allowed the defence request and adjourned the case to be heard in February 2019.

The two accused, who are out on bond, have also been directed to deposit their travel documents in court.

The prosecution was directed to furnish the accused with witness statements and any exhibits that will be relied on to prove the case against the accused.