Billionaire businessman Humphrey Kariuki has been acquitted in a case where he was charged with being in possession of 80 drums of uncustomed ethanol.
Charged alongside Stuart Gerald Herd , Robert Thinji Muriithi and two Africa Spirits Limited Directors, Mr Kariuki is battling 21 counts of tax evasion in a suspected Ksh 41 billion tax evasion scheme.
While acquitting the businessman on Tuesday, Senior Magistrate Kennedy Cheruiyot 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.
Defence lawyers Kioko kilukumi, Cecil Miller and Philip Murgor had asked the court to invoke section 202 of the Criminal Procedure Code and acquit the accused.
“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.
Mr Kariuki, who is the proprietor of Africa Spirits Ltd and WOW Beverages Ltd, was charged after a consignment of 250-litre drums were found at Africa Spirits Ltd’s premises following a raid in January last year.
In August 2019, the Director of Public Prosecution successfully obtained court orders whereby all properties belonging to tycoon Humphrey Kariuki would be preserved. Consequently, his bank accounts were frozen and all assets were impounded.
At some point 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) were seized.
Kariuki has three different cases touching on tax evasion.
Two others are still pending before different magistrates.