Africa Spirits limited bosses, employees charged over Sh 40B tax evasion

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Africa Spirits limited employees and officials have been charged over Sh 40 billion tax evasion.

The accused persons are Humphrey Kariuki Ndegwa, Stuart Gerald Herd, Peter Njenga Kuria, Robert Thinji Muriithi, Geoffrey Kaaria Githinji, Simon Maundu, Kepha Githu Gakure, Africa Spirits Limited and Wow Beverages limited.

However only Peter Njenga, Robert Muriithi and Kepha Githu appeared in court to plead to the charges.

The accused person have three different files in which the present accused persons pleaded not guilty to before Chief Magistrate Francis Andayi.

The charges in the first file include failing to pay tax, six counts of fraud in relation to tax, two counts of aiding commission of a tax offence.

In the second file, the eight accused persons face charges of being in possession of uncustomed goods values at Sh 7.4 million and conspiring to defraud the government of Kenya tax of Sh 5.7 million.

The last file contains charges of being in possession of 12 reels of counterfeit excise stamps, five counts of aiding commission of a tax offence, four counts of being in possession of excisable goods a fixed with counterfeit excise stamps.

The prosecution prayed stringent bond terms on grounds that the offences are serious and carry hefty fines.

They also requested the court to order the accused persons to deposit their passports in court.

Lawyers representing the accused persons asked the court to be lenient while issuing bond/bail terms sating that their clients have not been at work since February when the company was shut down.

The magistrate granted the accused persons a cash bail of Sh 11 million in all the three files. (10 m, 500,000 and 500,000)

Summons were issued against those who did not appear in court to answer to the charges with the exception of Geoffrey Kaaria Githinji.

The court heard that there is an order from the high court preventing his arrest.

The matter will be mentioned on 19th August and a pre-trial will be conducted on 5th September 2019.

The prosecution should have supplied all the documents before the pre-trial.