The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) has successfully obtained orders preserving the properties and freezing all accounts of billionaire businessman Humphrey Kariuki.
Mr Kariuki is facing Sh41 billion tax evasion charges and has since as stepped down as the chairman of his Janus Continental Group (JCG), an international conglomerate, comprised of market-leading companies in the Energy, Hospitality and Real Estate sectors.
The DPP obtained the orders from Milimani Resident Magistrate Caroline Nzibe on August 9, 2019. The tycoon’s assets include aeroplanes, ships and other immovable property.
In his application, the DPP had named Wow Beverages, African Spirits Limited and the businessman as respondent.
Mr Kariuki has, however, filed an application seeking to reverse the orders saying the court erred in seizing properties of Wow Beverages Limited.
Through his advocate Benjamin Musyoki, the businessman argues that the orders have the effect of shutting down, crippling and thwarting the business of Wow Beverages Limited.
According to Mr Kariuki, the orders were obtained in bad faith since he did not take plea on August 9, 2019.
He argues that the order is an attempt by the DPP to usurp powers vested in him and is an abuse of a court process, contrary to the Constitution.
“In view of the grave excessive, punitive and unjustified harm loss, damage and prejudice, Wow suffers loss of business.
“There is no evidence of any risk or dissipation of any of the assets placed before court which include Aeroplanes, ships and other immovable properties,” says Mr Musyoki.
Mr Kariuki’s business conglomerate includes The Hub Karen Mall in Nairobi; Africa Spirits, manufacturer of Alcoholic beverages; Dalbit Petroleum, one of the largest oil distributors in East and Southern Africa, and Great Lakes Africa Energy, a U.K-based company that is a developer and operator of power projects in Southern Africa.
He is also the owner of the 5-star Fairmont Mount Kenya Safari Club, the neighboring Mount Kenya Wildlife Conservancy and Animal Orphanage, private planes and more than 80 high-end vehicles.
The businessman, whose whereabouts are unknown and is believed to be in London, said he will fight the tax evasion case he labeled as “baseless” in court.
“In light of developments in the investigation process, Humphrey Kariuki recently made the decision to voluntarily stand as Chair of the Board of Janus Continental Group and its associate businesses,” reads a statement from Hellen Akello, the Chief Human Resources Officer.
“Humphrey Kariuki explained that this will allow him to focus his efforts on challenging the baseless claims in courts.”