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Tabitha Karanja, Husband Joseph Freed on Ksh.12M Cash Bail

The court noted that the couple’s bail terms would be different taking into consideration Mr. Karanja’s health

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Tabitha Karanja, Husband, Investors
Keroche Breweries Directors Joseph Karanja With Tabitha Karanja before Chief Magistrate Francis Andai to answer charges of TAX evasion on August 23,2019.

BY GEOFFREY ISAYA

Tabitha Karanja and her husband Joseph Karanja were on Friday released on Ksh. 10million and Ksh. 2million bail respectively.

Appearing before Nairobi Chief Magistrate Francis Andayi, Mrs. Karanja pleaded not guilty on behalf of Keroche Breweries.

The court noted that the couple’s bail terms would be different taking into consideration Mr. Karanja’s health.

“Joseph Karanja is to pay cash bail Ksh. 2million within seven days while Mrs. Karanja should pay Ksh. 10million immediately, ” Magistrate Andayi said.

Tabitha Karanja, Husband, Investors
Tabitha Karanja and her husband Joseph Karanja were on Friday released on Ksh. 10million and Ksh. 2million bail respectively. Pixabay

 

The third accused– Keroche Breweries– was ordered to pay Ksh. 10million cash bail within seven days failure to which all the directors will be arrested.

The Magistrate added that the couple are investors of the country and there was no evidence showing that they pose a flight risk.

He however noted that if they wish to travel they will have to confirm with the court and ensure it does not affect subsequent hearings.

Earlier, the Prosecution declared that they would not oppose the couple’s release on bail but asked that the court consider the Ksh. 14billion under investigation.

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“Consider if found guilty the sentence is of a fine double the tax evaded or to an imprisonment of ten years or both,” Alexander Muteti said.

He further sought to have the court direct that the two surrender their passports and not leave court jurisdiction.

SUMMONED TO KRA OFFICES

According to him, the accused persons have been aware that the taxman required clarification on the matter as they were summoned to the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) offices.

Tabitha Karanja, Husband, Investors
Appearing before Nairobi Chief Magistrate Francis Andayi, Mrs. Karanja pleaded not guilty on behalf of Keroche Breweries. Pixabay

“She (Mrs. Karanja) made an appearance before KRA and as per the letter before the court, KRA went out of their way to engage them,” the Prosecutor added.

He insisted on the gravity of the offence saying it is a condition the court should consider when setting bail.

However, Senior Counsel James Orengo who is representing Keroche, said the Ksh. 14billion is in dispute and there is a statutory process for settling any dispute in relation to tax demand.

The advocate noted that the company directors are presumed innocent and there was no evidence tabled in court showing that the Ksh. 14billion be taken into account in determining bail.

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RELEASED ON HEALTH REASONS

He further opposed the Prosecution’s request to have the couple deposit travel documents saying it won’t be necessary because of the enterprise they run.

The lawyer also revealed that Mr. Karanja cannot be kept in custody due to health reasons.

“He has recently undergone a surgery…police were able to release him before 10 last night (Thursday). Despite his medical condition and being granted a free bond he has been able to appear in court,” Orengo said.

The case will be mentioned on September 2 and the pre-trial hearing on September 24.

Next Story

As Bitcoin Turns 10, Its Investors Face Year-On-Year Loss

Investors who bet early on bitcoin and have stuck with it have faced a roller-coaster ride in its first decade.

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virtual currencies, bitcoin, investors
Bitcoin.com buttons are seen displayed on the floor of the Consensus 2018 blockchain technology conference in New York City, New York. VOA

Bitcoin was heading towards a year-on-year loss on Wednesday, its 10th birthday, the first loss since last year’s bull market, when the original and biggest digital coin muscled its way to worldwide attention with months of frenzied buying.

By 1300 GMT, bitcoin was trading at $6,263 on the BitStamp exchange, leaving investors who had bought it on Halloween 2017 facing yearly losses of nearly 3 percent.

A year ago, bitcoin closed at $6,443.22 as it tore towards a record high of near $20,000, hit in December.

virtual currencies, bitcoin, investors
People use a bitcoin ATM in Hong Kong. VOA

That run, fueled by frenzied buying by retail investors from South Korea to the United States, pushed bitcoin to calendar-year gains of over 1,300 percent.

Ten years ago, Satoshi Nakamoto, bitcoin’s still-unidentified founder, released a white paper detailing the need for an online currency that could be used for payments without the involvement of a third party, such as a bank.

Traders and market participants said the Halloween milestone was inevitable, given losses of around 70 percent from bitcoin’s peak and the continuing but incomplete shift towards investment by mainstream financial firms.

virtual currencies, bitcoin, investors
Transactions in cryptocurrencies occur the same way that you make transactions using any other fiat currency. pixabay

“The value mechanisms of crypto and bitcoin today are based more on underlying tech than hype and FOMO (fear of missing out),” said Josh Bramley, head trader at crypto wealth management firm Blockstars.

Growing use of blockchain – the distributed ledger technology that underpins bitcoin – is now powering valuations of the digital currency, he said, cautioning that some expectations for widespread use have not yet materialized.

Others said improvements to infrastructure such as custody services may allow mainstream investors who are wary of buying bitcoin to take positions.

virtual currencies, bitcoin, investors
Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency and worldwide payment system. Wikimedia Commons

“We see behind closed doors financial and non-financial institutions beavering away to create the infrastructure,” said Ben Sebley, head of brokerage at NKB Group, a blockchain advisory and investment firm.

Bitcoin has endured year-on-year losses before, according to data from CryptoCompare, most recently in 2015.

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Retail investors still account for a strong proportion of trading, market players said.

Investors who bet early on bitcoin and have stuck with it have faced a roller-coaster ride in its first decade. Many told Reuters they are optimistic that they are still onto a winner. (VOA)