Get subscribed to our newsletter
Get interesting updates to your email inbox.
BY GEOFFREY ISAYA
Billionaire Humphrey Kariuki has come out to defend himself, two days after he was charged with evading the payment of taxes totaling Sh41 billion.
In a statement dated August 19 but released to journalists on Wednesday, the businessman said he is a victim of envious individuals, unsettled by his vast business empire across the world.
“The allegations levelled against me are untrue, without merit, fabricated and intended to use the judicial process to tarnish my name.”Kariuki said he is “a law-abiding citizen who believes in the rule of law.”
He claims the said people, who are not mentioned in his statement, want to destroy his reputation and business by implicating him in offences he said he is not aware of.
The tycoon’s troubles started early this year after detectives raided his Africa Limited Spirits firm in Thika, where other than millions of fake excise stamps, they recovered tonnes of undeclared ethanol.
In self-defense, Kariuki who claims he does not directly run the management of the firm refuted owing the taxman a penny, while dismissing the charges as false and in bad faith.
“I also affirm that due to my business interests outside the country, I am in Kenya for less than 130 days a year,” Kariuki said.
He said: “Most of my time is committed to my international ventures, which appear to have attracted jealousy from certain quarters, who are hell-bent on ensuring that they ruin my business by tarnishing my character and reputation through adverse and orchestrated media publicity and implication with offences that I am stranger to.”
Kariuki who calls himself a true Kenyan patriot owing to the massive investment he has made across the country was released on a Sh11 million cash bail after he denied all the charges when he presented himself in court on Monday.
About Africa Spirits Limited, the tycoon said he has no executive management over it “and day-to-day operations, whatsoever.”
He said that all the business ventures he has financed remit taxes to the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA)
“The employment created has a positive impact on many Kenyan families and businesses, directly and indirectly,” he pointed out.
Kariuki was summoned by the court on August 9 after the prosecution applied for the summonses, when three of his employees were charged with the offence of failing to pay tax to KRA as required by law.
He was away when Peter Njenga, Robert Thinji and Kepha Githu Gakure denied tax evasion charges when they appeared before Nairobi Chief Magistrate Francis Andayi on August 9.
Njenga, Thinji and Gakure were released on Sh11 million cash bail each with an alternative of a bond of Sh20 million.
The court had also issued summonses against Stuart Geraid, Simon Maundu, Africa Spirits Limited, and Wow Beverages Limited.
The prosecution told the court that the tax period for which the accused persons are said to be non-compliant covered between February 1, 2016 and December 3, 2018.
The court was told the accused – being licensed excise duty manufacturers and registered taxpayers – deliberately failed to file the amount to the commissioner domestic tax by the due dates as required by law.
The accused persons face nineteen counts, which include being in possession of counterfeit revenue stamps, being in possession of unaccustomed goods and conspiracy to contravene section 193 of the East African Community Management Act 2004.
The Centre will launch a pilot project on the use of indigenously manufactured drones for delivering medicines in the undulating landscape of Jammu and surrounding areas from Saturday with a focus on vaccines delivery initially. "This is going to be a pilot project for the area. The drone is developed and manufactured entirely by our scientists," Union Minister for Science & Technology, Dr Jitendra Singh told mediapersons. Singh said he himself will be launching the project at Jammu.
The drone is developed by the scientists at Bengaluru's National Aerospace Laboratories (NAL), a constituent of Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), an autonomous Society that is headed by the Prime Minister. For now, the delivery would be limited to Covid vaccines and once successful, it would be expanded to be used for regular delivery of medicines in the remote, hilly areas.
The drone is developed by the scientists at Bengaluru's National Aerospace Laboratories (NAL). | Photo by Jason Blackeye on Unsplash
Jammu and surrounding areas are sensitive in terms of the strategic importance. Some months ago, there was an attack on an Army installation using drones. Will the 'drones for vaccines' be permitted in such a case? Allaying fears, a top official from the Ministry of S&T said, "The drones would be deployed by authorised agencies such as hospitals, not anybody can use it, nor would any random person be permitted to use it."
NAL has called the drone as 'Octacopter' and it can fly at an operational altitude of 500 m AGL and at maximum flying speed of 36 kmph. It can be used for a variety of BVLOS applications for last mile delivery like medicines, vaccines, food, postal packets, Human organs (such as heart for heart transplantation) etc. NAL Octacopter is integrated with a powerful on-board embedded computer and latest generation sensors for versatile applications like agricultural pesticide spraying, crop monitoring, mining survey, magnetic geo survey mapping etc., S&T officials had said. (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: Jammu, Vaccines, Medicines, Deliver, Drones, Centre
Bollywood actor Abhishek Bachchan shares how he feels when people compare him with his father Amitabh Bachchan on the singing reality show 'Sa Re Ga Ma Pa'. He also requests contestant Rajshree Bag to sing a track 'Bahon Mein Chale Aao' featuring his mother Jaya Bachchan.
Abhishek said after looking at the performance of Rajshree, who is often compared with Lata Mangeshkar on the show, that she reminds him of being compared with his father. "Rajshree, whenever I have got the chance to watch the show, I've seen people compare you to Lata didi. It actually reminded me about how people compare me with my father and ask me how I feel about it."
According to him Amitabh Bachchan is a great actor in the industry and this is what he says to everyone making these comparisons. "My answer to them is that there's no greater actor in this film industry than Amitabh Bachchan and if I'm being compared to him, I am sure I must have done something good."
"Similarly, your voice has a different kind of magic like Lata ji and that's why people are comparing your voice with her. I feel you should always take this as a compliment," he concluded. 'Sa Re Ga Ma Pa' airs on Saturday and Sunday on Zee TV. (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: Abhishek Bachchan, Amitabh Bachchan, reality show, Sa Re Ga Ma Pa, Rajshree Bag
Winters in India have always beckoned for that hot, steaming bowl of tomato and pepper rasam or the mellow, millet based Raab. Certain dishes like sarson ka saag, undhiyu, nimona pulao are winter specialites in the country. Seasonal food has always been an Indian speciality -- we switch our choice in fruits, vegetables, sometimes even grains with the onset of different season. The preference of using specific ingredients during certain climates is visible in our sweets as well. It's common to find local and traditional delicacies made of jaggery, instead of sugar during the winters. Case in point -- the Nolen Gur Rasgulla, a speciality made in Odisha and West Bengal between November to February.
Celebrity chef, Sanjeev Kapoor, strongly advocates this need of eating seasonal produce. He says, "The beauty of our food is in our seasonal usage of fruits and vegetables. If you realise, Gajar ka halwa is made aplenty during winters as this is the season when beautiful red carrots hit the market or mango pickle is made during summer, thanks to its availability. Despite people and sometimes, even me, suggesting that we should eat fresh as well as seasonal fruits and vegetables, we do not know what chemicals are sprayed on them to keep them safe while they are growing. When this produce hits the market, there isn't a certifying agency like the FSSAI that will help people understand what vegetables and fruits are free of pesticides and germs and which ones don't. Hence, the onus lies on us to make them safe for consumption. ITC's Nimwash is a good solution."
When it comes to winters, the Chef recommends eating these fruit and vegetables:
* Purple Mogri -- Mogri or Radish pods are not a common sight throughout the country. But you can spot them during the winters in local markets in northern India where women pick them up to make raitas, curries and stir fries. Rich in magnesium, calcium and copper, the vegetable is known to aid people from digestive problems.
Mogri or Radish pods are not a common sight throughout the country, but you can spot them during the winters | Pixabay
* Sweet Potato -- A re-discovered favourite, Sweet potatoes have created a space for itself in the millennial kitchen. With its diverse addition in burgers, chips and even chat, the root vegetable is filled with nutrients such as fibres and vitamins.
Sweet potatoes have created a space for itself in the millennial kitchen. | Wikimedia Commons
* Avarekalu -- Called Hyacinth beans in English, Avarekalu is a winter speciality in the south that is added to sambhar, saagu, rotis, etc. Bangalore is famed for its Averakalu mela during the winter months, where you can find these beans in dosas, Pani puri and even Jalebis! Thronged by crowds from all over the city, the food fest is a gourmand's delight.
Called Hyacinth beans in English, Avarekalu is a winter speciality in the south that is added to sambhar, saagu, rotis, etc. | Wikimedia Commons
* Amla -- The Indian gooseberry is a common winter fruit found through the country. High in Vitamin C, it is known to be immunity building and extremely beneficial for the skin and hair. There are multiple ways to eat Amla -- it is pickled, made into a fruit preserve called as Murraba or even eaten by sprinkling salt over it.
The Indian gooseberry is a common winter fruit found through the country. | Pixabay
(Article originally published on IANSlife) (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: winter, Sanjeev Kapoor, chef, Indian gooseberry, Sweet Potato, Radish pods