Kenya’s Director of Public Prosecution, (DPP) Noordin Haji, has ordered the immediate arrest and prosecution of Humphrey Kariuki, the owner of Wines of the World Limited (WoW) and Africa Spirits Limited alongside eighth other accomplices over allegations of KSh 41 billion tax evasion.
According to a news report by Kenyalivefeed.com, Kariuki and the other eight accomplices will face charges of tax evasion, conspiracy to defraud government, and being in possession of goods with fake excise duty stamp, among other charges.
The accomplices being wanted in connection to the scheme include Peter Njenga Kuria (Director, Africa Spirits), Robert Thinji Murithi (Director WoW Beverages), Stuart Gerald (Director, WoW Beverages), and Geofrey Kinoti (Director, Africa Spirits).
Others expected to face seven separate charges over alleged tax evasion and other unlawful acts in the course of doing business are, Sethu Prabhu (Assistant Production Manager, Africa Spirits), Kepha Gakure (Tax Manager, Africa Spirits); and Eric Nzomba (Driver).
It would be recalled that Kariuki’s troubles started in early February this year when a multi-agency team of Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) and Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) raided Africa Spirits Limited in Thika and discovered about 12 million counterfeit stamps to be used on various products.
During the raid, the team collected counterfeit stamps used on various products and 80 drums of unaccustomed ethanol .
The tax authorities had alleged that based on its investigations, the company, Africa Spirits Limited, had evaded paying taxes amounting to over KSh 41 billion –
The DPP disclosed that during the raid, 80 drums of suspected unaccustomed ethanol, counterfeit excise stamps containing 24,000 pieces and 4,1703 cartons containing over one million assorted alcoholic drinks, amongst other items, were confiscated.
Haji clarified: “KRA audit has revealed that Africa Spirits/WoW beverages had evaded payment of tax in the amount of over KSh 41 billion between the period of 2014-2019.
“In addition, the audit revealed that there was evidence of tampering with the production system at the Africa Spirits factory that led to the submission of false declaration to KRA”, the DPP added.
He explained that the discoveries necessitated further investigations which reflected a huge tax liability and money-laundering scheme on the company.