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Tycoon Humphrey Kariuki Says Tax Fraud Case Fabricated to Malign Him

The allegations levelled against me are untrue, without merit, fabricated and intended to use the judicial process to tarnish my name

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Tycoon, Humphrey Kariuki, Tax
Billionaire Humphrey Kariuki .

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.

Tycoon, Humphrey Kariuki, Tax
Billionaire Humphrey Kariuki has come out to defend himself, two days after he was charged with evading the payment of taxes totaling Sh41 billion. Pixabay

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.”

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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.

Tycoon, Humphrey Kariuki, Tax
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. Pixabay

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.

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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.

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GST Council Lowers Tax on Number of Goods and Services to Spur Demand

The hotel rooms costing between Rs 1,000 and Rs 7,500 would attract 12 per cent GST

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GST, Council, Tax
Announcing the rate cuts following the GST Council meeting here, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said that hotels room with tariff of Rs 7,500 crore would now attract 18 per cent GST from 28 per cent earlier. Pixabay

Friday proved to be a big day for India Inc. After a slew of tax concessions including reduction in corporate tax from 30 per cent to 22 per cent, the GST Council has lowered tax on a number of goods and services to spur demand.

The key sectors which would benefit from GST rate cuts are hotels, gems & jewellery, defence and automobiles.

Announcing the rate cuts following the GST Council meeting here, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said that hotels room with tariff of Rs 7,500 crore would now attract 18 per cent GST from 28 per cent earlier. The hotel rooms costing between Rs 1,000 and Rs 7,500 would attract 12 per cent GST. No tax would be levied on hotel rooms with rental upto Rs 1,000.

Among other rate changes, the Council has reduced rates for cups and plates made from leaves and hides to nil. The GST on caffeinated beverages has, however, been increased from 18 per cent to 28 per cent plus additional 12 per cent cess.

GST, Council, Tax
Friday proved to be a big day for India Inc. After a slew of tax concessions including reduction in corporate tax from 30 per cent to 22 per cent, the GST Council has lowered tax. Pixabay

The Council has exempted specified defence items from GST to promote this key sector.

Among other major items, the Council has reduced compensation cess on passenger vehicles with seating capacity of 10-13 persons by 1-3 per cent, thus making them cheaper.

Railway wagons, coaches and rolling stocks would, however, now attract higher GST of 12 per cent from 5 per cent earlier.

The revised GST rates would become effective from October 1, 2019.

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In a major boost to gems and jewellery sector, the Council recommended to reduce GST on cut and polished semi-precious items to 0.25 per cent from 3 per cent now.

The two back-to-back announcements are set to boost growth and investment.

With most engines of growth stuttering and GDP declining to six-year low of 5 per cent in the April-June quarter, pressure has been mounting on the government to revive the economy. Some external factors like US-China trade war has added to the woes.

GST, Council, Tax
The key sectors which would benefit from GST rate cuts are hotels, gems & jewellery, defence and automobiles. Pixabay

In the wake of domestic and external headwinds, the Reserve Bank of India recently lowered its GDP forecast and pegged it at 6.9 per cent in 2019-20. Several rating agencies and research firms expect the growth to be in the range of 6.5-7 per cent.

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The poor show in the first quarter of the current fiscal has prompted the Modi government to take measures to boost growth and lift business sentiment. Starting August 23, Finance Minister Sitharaman has announced four set of measures to put economy on fast track. (IANS)