State to appeal acquittal of businessman Humphrey Kariuki

by Wakili Liam
Noordin Haji, Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP)

Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP) will challenge the acquittal of billionaire businessman Humphrey Kariuki.

Kariuki who was in 2019 charged with tax evasion amounting to Sh41 billion was acquitted yesterday following what the court termed as lack of witnesses.

Mr Kariuki is the owner of African Spirits Limited and Wow Beverages based in Thika.

Senior Magistrate Kennedy Cheruiyot on Tuesday said the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) has not availed evidence yet the case has been pending in court for 16 months.

“This court finds the DPP has not availed witnesses and l acquit the accused under section 202 of the CPC for want of prosecution,” ruled Mr Cheruiyot.

Afterwards, DPP wrote on its social media pages that the reports that the businessman has been acquitted were ‘untrue and unfounded‘.

‘Reports that a court has acquitted businessman Humphrey Kariuki after DPP failed to produce witnesses is untrue & unfounded. The fact of the matter is that when the matter came up for hearing on 7th December, 2020, there was a state counsel together with two investigating officers and a prosecution witness in court.The matter could not, however, proceed because DPP in a letter dated 4/12/20 had written to the Chief Magistrate in Criminal Division requesting for consolidation of all charges in 2 other courts instituted against Kariuki & 7 others. Kariuki and 7 others are facing tax evasion charges and other tax-related offences all valued at billions of shillings in the three cases before the court’, the ODPP wrote.

Today, speaking to a local media house, the DPP vowed to appeal the acquittal.

“We will challenge the acquittal at the High Court. We have written to the Executive Officer to furnish us with the court proceedings to proceed to the superior court to have the judgment reversed,” Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions, Mr Alexander Muteti said.

This is the latest high profile cases the DPP has lost for failing to adduce evidence in court.

The other accused persons who were acquitted alongside Mr Kariuki are ASL and WBL directors Mr Peter Njenga, Mr Robert Thinji Mureithi, Mr Eric Mulwa Nzomba and Mr Kefa Gakure.

Humphrey Kariuki was charged alongside his company directors; some of whom assets including vehicles were seized by the state.

The state seized 28 vehicles belonging to 14 directors namely, Kariuki (one), Nyawira Kariuki (one), Margaret Karimi Mbaka (four), Alastair Mark Cavenagh (four), Matheka Oscar (one), Kepha Githu Gakure (two), Stuart Gerald Herd (five), Claudine Mathis (one), Susan Waithera Waithaka (two), Peter Shikari Menza (one motorcycle and three vehicles), Robert Thinji Muriithi (two) and Anne Wanjiru Ndung’u (one).

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