THE Director of Public Prosecution has made a request that billionaire Humphrey Kariuki who is embroiled in an alleged tax evasion case be barred from making comments or statements in the media in respect to the case.
Kariuki who was is facing nine counts relating to tax evasion amounting to KSh41 billion in connection with African Wines and Spirits company was at the Milimani law courts for a pre-trial mention and had indicated that the would hold a presser after the court appearance, but following the request lodged by Senior Assistant DPP Vincent Monda, it was called off with the businessman’s lawyer Cecil Miller addressing the journalists for barely 11 seconds by merely confirming they were in court for a mention before declining to take up any questions.
The prosecution is praying the tycoon and his lawyers be gagged and that “no comments or press briefings be made regarding the case.”
Defence lawyers though think that the right of expression cannot be curtailed or violated and that the concerned parties know about the sub-judice rule and should can aptly express themselves within this ambit.
In an earlier statement he said he is a law-abiding citizen who has not been involved in any criminal activity.
“I am a patriotic and law-abiding citizen… the truth, law and evidence is wholly behind me. I shall defend myself adequately and openly for the general public to know the truth,” Kariuki was quoted saying.
Kariuki said he is not involved in the management and day to day running of African Spirits which is at the centre of the tax evasion claims, as well as allegations of possession of unaccustomed ethanol and counterfeit stamps.
He, therefore, said that any allegation linking him to malpractices at the firm is in bad faith.
In his statement, Kariuki pointed to “jealous and malicious” elements that are out to tarnish his name because he has multiple business interests across the globe.
He said he has made significant contribution to the Kenyan economy through businesses he has invested in as well as employment creation.
The tycoon is facing several counts including forgery, money laundering and tax evasion.
Kariuki denied all the charges from three files.
A mention is set for September 24 2019 to confirm receipt of copies of documents the prosecution will be using in the trial.