Alcohol tycoon allowed to exchange old Sh1k notes from factory
City billionaire businessman Humphrey Kariuki of Thika-based Africa Spirits Limited (ASL) was on Thursday allowed by a Nairobi court to access his factory and collect his old Sh1,000 notes and exchange them with the new currency before the deadline.
ASL is facing a Sh41 billion tax evasion charge. Kariuki had asked the court to order the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) and police to re-open its Thika-based factory claiming the closure of the company for the last six months had caused the taxman to lose over Sh1.2 billion in tax.
ASL’s lawyer Cecil Miller disclosed that the company and another company Wow Beverages Limited were remitting Sh150m monthly to KRA in tax.
“I urge this court to direct KRA and the police who took over the factory six months ago to re-open it since huge losses are being incurred affecting the economy greatly,” Mr Miller.
He told chief magistrate Francis Andayi that the closure of the company is hurting everyone.
Mr Kariuki, ASL, Wow, Stuart Gerald Herd, Peter Njenga Kuria, Robert Ithinji Muriithi, Geoffrey Kaaria Kinoti Mbobu, Simon Maundu, Eric Mulwa and Kepha Githu Gakure have denied failing to remit the alleged taxes between 2016-2018.
The lawyer argued that the fate of hundreds of employees hangs in the balance following closure of the factory.
Mr Miller urged the magistrate to direct the testimony being sought to be realised so that the factory can be returned to the owners immediately to enable them access the old Sh1,000 to remit to the Central Bank of Kenya.
The factory owners were allowed to access the factory to remove all the old Sh1,000 old notes to hand over to the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) by Friday latest Saturday to beat the September 30, 2019.
The deadline is three days away. The pre-trial of the case will take place on October 22, 2019.