The criminal proceedings for alleged tax evasion that had been brought against businessman Humphrey Kariuki and others have been dismissed by the High Court.
Justice Anthony Mrima concurred with the billionaire's attorney, Cecil Miller, that the charges brought against their client originated from the Director of Criminal Investigations, despite the fact that the Constitution mandates that all criminal prosecutions begin with the Director of Public Prosecutions.
"A declaration is hereby issued that the prosecution of criminal offenses in Kenya must only be undertaken by lawful Prosecutors"
Following the decision, Humphrey voiced his relief, stating that the allegations made against him were without merit, and praised the Court for exonerating him of the charges.
"Since false accusations were made against me more than three years ago, my attorneys have repeatedly challenged the prosecution on the grounds that there was no lawful basis for charging me in the criminal cases. The argument that there was no lawful basis for charging me was based on the fact that there was no legal basis for charging me. I have always conducted myself in a manner that is consistent with the legal process because I am a firm believer in the supremacy of law "he stated his opinion in a statement.
In addition to this, he stated that the lawsuit had portrayed him as a tax evader, despite the fact that he is a savvy businessman who has created his legacy in the alcohol sector for over 40 years.
"I have been unfairly depicted as someone who does not pay tax throughout these proceedings and in the subsequent media publicity that has resulted from this. Over the past eight years, the companies that I have founded or invested in have paid taxes in Kenya totaling more than 24 billion Kenyan shillings (KES). In fact, one of my companies was recognized by the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) in 2018 as one of the highest taxpayers in its category in the country, earning it the award for being one of the highest taxpayers overall in Kenya. During the same time period, these companies were responsible for the employment of more than 800 persons in Kenya. This was a cynical attempt to destroy the legacy that I have been cultivating for almost 40 years "he added.
He accused the government of Kenya of stifling the country's various industries.
At the expense of the Kenyan people, the Kenyan authorities have been using these underhanded strategies, which are examples of stifling rather than facilitating indigenous private enterprise. There is no way for a nation to be developed and flourish if its native people in business are not provided with the opportunity to contribute to the economic prosperity of their nation.
Kariukin and the other defendants were subject to a trial that Chief Magistrate Mrima's court in Milimani was not allowed to preside over or conduct. This order was issued by Justice Mrima.
The court issued a judgment that stated, "No Court in Kenya shall forthwith accept, record, or in any manner whatsoever deal with any charge sheets not filed and signed by any of the unlawful prosecutors."
In addition, the judge stated that the National Police Service, the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission, the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights, the Commission on Administration of Justice, the Kenya Revenue Authority, the Anti-Counterfeit Agency, and any other government entity that is mandated with a criminal investigation role under any written law are not permitted to draft, sign, or present any charge sheets in any criminal prosecution.
The court agreed with Miller and the other defense counsel that the DCI lacked the mandate and expertise to undertake investigations and/or administer and enforce the tax laws of Kenya and the East African Community region. The court also agreed that the DCI lacked the expertise to administer and enforce the tax laws of Kenya.
According to the judgement, since "the investigations leading up to the institution of the said criminal case were conducted by the National Police Service through the Director of Criminal Investigations," no officers from the Kenya Revenue Authority or the National Police Service were allowed to pursue the prosecution of the "said criminal case," either as Special or Private Prosecutors, or in any capacity at all.
Miller maintained that the Department of Criminal Investigation was exceeding its authority by conducting tax investigations on its own, as this was the equivalent of the DCI taking it upon itself to enforce and administer tax laws, which was not part of their mandate.
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