Humphrey Kariuki Wins Big in Tax Evasion Case

In a stunning reversal of fortune, the high court has thrown out the use of sh17 billion in tax evasion charges against businessman Humphrey Kariuki and seven others.
According to the DPP, the tax evasion allegations transpired between 2014 and 2019.
The accused were arraigned in court on several counts—including fraud, tax evasion, and possession of counterfeit excise stamps.
A KRA audit revealed that the production system at the Africa Spirits Limited factory plant in Thika had been tampered with, resulting in false tax declarations.
Justice Anthony Mrima quashed the corruption charges against Humphrey and his co-accused and prohibited the Milimani Chief Magistrates Court from hearing and proceeding with the case.
A judge ruled that the National Police Service cannot, on its own initiative, investigate tax-related crimes such as tax evasion. The police can collect evidence and make recommendations, but they cannot arrest suspects or conduct further investigations without permission from the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP). The role of an investigator ends with the collection of evidence and making recommendations. Any other step that follows is beyond NPS’s authority.
The embattled Humphrey through lawyers Kioko Kilukumi and Cecil Miller moved to the high court challenging the tax evasion charges against them. They claimed the charges emanated from the Director of Criminal Investigations, contrary to Article 142 (1) of the Constitution which requires all criminal prosecutions to originate from the Director of Public Prosecutions.
The petitioners also argued that the Director of Criminal Investigations (DCI) had no legal authority to investigate the matter because the charges related to the enforcement and administration of the tax laws.
Humphrey’s lawyers said that the DCI had overstepped its mandate by taking on duties outside of those listed in his job description and that it was, therefore, improper for him to be leading this particular investigation.
Justice Mrima said that except for the charge sheets prepared and signed by the DPP, no court in Kenya would accept, register, and deal with any charge sheets not prepared and signed by the proper authorities.

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