DPP not ready to try Kariuki, six others over Sh 41billion tax evasion case
The Director of Public Prosecution is still not ready to begin the three tax cases against businessman Humphrey Kariuki and others three months later after they were filed in court.
Today, when the accused persons in court for pre-trial mention, Senior Assistant Director of Public Prosecutions Vincent Monda sought another more time to supply the defence with all witness statements and documentary exhibit.
While seeking more time, Monda told Milimani Chief Magistrate Francis Andayi that they have not yet complied with the ealier orders to supply the evidence documents since they are bulky of over 7,000 pages.
The previous three pre-trial conferences failed to kick off over missing crucial documents to be used by the prosecution.
Defence lawyers at the time argued they were unable to proceed with the pre-trial conference due to the missing documents supplied in DVDs.
Lawyers Kioko Kilukumi and Cecil Miler for Kariuki told the court when they opened the supplied DVD, not all documents listed in the inventory in court were contained.
They argued that the inconsistencies were numerous making it difficult for them to prepare their defence.
They argued that the prosecution was obligated to supply the defence in advance with all materials placed before court.
They told the court the prosecution was required to supply the defence with the documents in hard copy.
They urged the court to ask the prosecution to provide the documents in an organized and acceptable manner for transparency.
They told the courts that the documents supplied to different defence lawyers were inconsistent with some citing missing pages.
The prosecution told the court that they are relying on 7,500 pages of documents.
However the magistrate granted the DPP request and ordered him to supply the defence all the evidence material to be used in the case on or before December 5.
He also allowed the defence request to visit the offices of the Directorate of Criminal Investigations between December 5 and January 14 to inspect and verify the original documents to be used in the cases.
The orders issued will were also applied to other cases before two separate courts.
In the case Kariuki, Wow Beverages directors Stuart Gerald Herd and Robert Thinji Muriithi, and Africa Spirits Directors Peter Njenga Kuria and Geoffrey Kaaria Kinoti Mbombua are facing a total of 21 counts of tax evasion and being in possession of counterfeit excise duty stamps.