The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Noordin Haji has sought up to January 14, 2020 to supply city tycoon Humphrey Kariuki and eight others hard copies of the 7,000 witness statements and exhibits in the sh41bn tax evasion case against them.
Failure by the DPP to supply evidence to Mr Kariuki and alcohol manufacturer Africa Spirits Limited and Wow Beverages in Thika has pushed to the new year the high-profiled case.
A state prosecutor Vincent Monda confirmed to the Milimani Court chief magistrate Francis Andayi that the DPP has not been able to furnish Mr Kariuki and others with copies of statements as earlier directed.
“I received letters from defence counsel Cecil Miller and Kioko Kilukumi that they want to be furnished with hard copies of the 7,000 statements and exhibits in the Sh41bn tax evasion case,” Mr Monda stated.
COPIES OF EVIDENCE
He added that besides Miller and Kilukumi, other defence counsel led by Ben Nzakyo have also demanded hard copies.
“The state is now required to produce photocopies running into 56,000 copies,” Mr Monda stated.
He added that the lawyers have also sought to be allowed access to peruse and examine all the original documents to confirm that “they are actually copies from the original documents.”
As a result, Monda asked the court to indulge the DPP up to January 14, 2020 to accomplish the exercise.
“It is true we wrote to the DPP demanding hard copies of the witness statements and documents to be relied upon in this case,” Mr Kilukumi told Andayi.
Mr Miller urged the case to be mentioned on December 5, 2019 for the DPP to confirm whether he has supplied the hard copies ahead of the pre-trial scheduled for January 14, 2020.
Allowing the request by the prosecution, Andayi directed all defence counsel be allowed access to the offices of the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) to verify the original documents of the copies they will be supplied to avoid unnecessary delays and ease the flow of testimony when trial commences.
Mr Kariuki and the others have denied charges of the Sh41bn tax evasion, being in possession of ethanol worth Sh7.9million illegally and being in possession of thousands of fake excise duty stamps.
The have denied all nine counts relating to tax evasion amounting to Sh17 billion.
Mr Kariuki, Wow Beverages directors Stuart Gerald Herd, Robert Thinji Muriithi, Africa Spirits Directors Peter Njenga Kuria and Geoffrey Kaaria Kinoti Mbombua are facing a total of 21 counts of tax evasion and being in possession of counterfeit excise duty stamps.
The magistrate heard that a similar case in Thika Law Courts will be transferred to Nairobi for trial alongside the three cases filed against the accused.