Director Denies Claims That Billionaire Kariuki As The Owner Of Africa Spirits Ltd

by Mahakamani News
Humphrey Kariuki

Africa Spirits Limited linked to billionaire Humphrey Kariuki has denied he is the director and responsible for the management of the company as claimed.

In the supporting affidavit by Africa Spirit director Peter Njenga Kuria , he termed the allegations linking him to the company as a media creation.

Njenga said the media articles alluded that the source of the alleged information is from the KRA or muilti-agency team.

“These allegations are false and i state categorically that he has no directional, operational or management role in Africa Spirits limited of whatever capacity and he does not operate from the the company premises , nor does he visit the company premises and the last time he did so, was many years ago when he was invited to see the new production line,” said Njenga.

He said on January 31 , KRA arrested the Africa Spirits production manager and charged him before Thika Magistrate court with two counts of being possession of 80 drums of ethanol inside the lorry and 288,000 counterfeit KRA exercise stamps.

The tycoon through his companies has filed an application before the High court Anti-Corruption seeking to set aside preservation orders restraining him from withdrawing or transferring monies held in his 11 banks accounts.

This evening after failing to secure orders to set aside preservation orders they filed a constitutional petition in the court and by the time of this publication they were processing payments of the petition.

This is after the Justice John Onyiego late last month issued an order freezing the monies in the said accounts pending investigations into the alleged Sh 3 Billion tax evasion.

According to court papers filed in court by the firms namely Wow Beverages Limited ,Wines of the World and African Spirits they are also seeking orders restraining Kenya Revenue Authority from disrupting their businesses.

“Court hereby issue orders restraining the Kenya Revenue Authority its officers, agencies, associates, partners and those acting through it from closing , interfering with, disrupting the business of WOW Beverages Limited or issuing any demand , assessment or notice on the false account of Wow Beverages Limited being involved in manufacturing of alcoholic drinks,” pleaded the company.

They are further seeking orders directing KRA to provide the list of authorized officers who conducted the raid, search and seizure on the companies premises and further provide the originals or copies of all documents , data, records ,books of accounts and inventory for all documents seized within seven days.

One of the companies African Spirits Limited say in that Justice Onyiego orders are  crippling it’s business permanently.

In it’s court papers the company says that no evidence was placed before the court to history grant the orders sought which the company is condemned unjustly , unfairly, hurt and damaged in its business operations.

In the supporting affidavit filed in court by company director Peter Njenga Kuria that KRA having taken possession of the company’s property and having obtained a search warrant on February 4, to access and carry away documents of the Africa Spirits, it completed its investigations and accessed on the company a tax liability of shillings 93,258,55, 530 by its letter referenced P051152278Y February 7,2019.

They further claims that  KRA has no power in law to take over the company’s premises forcefully and exclusively doing whatever they want to do without the supervision or inspection of the company.

Njenga claims that KRA and it’s officers are acting in total bad faith and their application dated February 22 was not justified or merited as the orders sought through misrepresentation of facts that they were carrying out investigations and they had concluded the investigations, tax assessment and had referred the matter to the Directorate of Criminal Investigations.

They claim Justice Onyiego  orders issued on February 22, were issued on account that the company are involved in manufacturing of alcohol using illicit ethanol and counterfeit stamps which they deny.

“Respondents are not involved in manufacturing but are importers of alcoholic beverages and no tax of shillings 3 billion can be due from the respondents who are not involved in any manufacturing,” says the company.

Kariuki’s companies also claims that orders obtained by Taxman on February 22 were without a shadow of doubts and were obtained on a deliberate misrepresentation , none-disclosure and half truths and were intended to mislead the court to injure prejudice, harm and damage their businesses.

They further claimed that, the illegal, unjust and unlawful closure of the companies storage facilities have disrupted and prejudiced its business, caused it massive losses and threatened it with illegal and permanent closure under the guise of tax collection to benefit of the competitors making their companies  apprehensive that the state tax collection machinery is being utilized to wage a proxy business war of attrition to the companies detriment.

They said continues closure of their companies has threatened its core business with suppliers already using letters of intention to revoke long standing distribution contracts  and with competitors milling around  the ventures.

“It is Crystal clear that the continued closure is intended to benefit such competitors and is not related to tax issue or disrupts,” added the companies.

KRA obtained preservation orders restraining and prohibiting the transfer of funds in the seven bank accounts including The world and African Spirits Limited (ASL) which is one of the largest alcohol manufacturing plants in East Africa.

ASL produces Glen Rock, Legend Black, Blue Moon, and Legend brandy among others.

Other companies which the court has preserved its funds are Vow Beverages Limited, Wines pending the hearing and determination of the application.

The court preserved the monies which are held at National Bank of Kenya, Family Bank Limited, Equity Bank Limited, Credit Bank Limited, and KCB Bank Limited.

According to documents filed in court, the companies have been supplying excisable goods with counterfeit exercise stamps hence evading payments of taxes.

The Taxman said that the companies have in the cause of carrying out its business fraudulently denied the the agency collection of colossal amounts of taxes which they intends to demand.

They claim that preliminary investigations conducted so far indicate Kariuki and through Companies has evaded tax of up to Sh 3 billion and investigation are still ongoing.

“If the funds in the accounts of the respondents are not preserved then its highly likely that the respondents (Wow Beverages Limited and Wines of the World Limited) may frustrate the recovery of the taxes demanded by the commissioner of Tax by withdrawing the money, transferring or putting it out of reach by KRA,” said.

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