A Nairobi court on Thursday returned tycoon Humphrey Kariuki's passports to enable him to travel abroad to attend to his businesses.
Milimani Senior Principal Magistrate Kennedy Cheruiyot directed the release of the travel documents saying Mr Kariuki voluntarily presented himself to investigators when he learnt he was being sought for questioning.
“I find that the accused person presented himself to the Director of Criminal Investigations (DCI) when required to do so even though he was out of the country at the time,” Mr Cheruiyot said.
The application for the release of the two passports was presented by his lawyer Cecil Miller who is appearing in the case with Ben Nzakyo and Ms Rubeena Dar.
Mr Miller assured the court that Mr Kariuki will always present himself to the court during the trial of the three cases filed against him by the Director of Public Prosecutions.
“Mr Kariuki exhibited good conduct by surrendering himself to the DCI when he learnt that he was required to record a statement and eventually be charged,” Mr Miller submitted.
He said the suspect flew back into the country from overseas when he learnt he had been summoned to attend court.
In his ruling, the magistrate stated the court is very much alive to the constitutional requirement that one is presumed innocent until proven otherwise.
“In the context of constitutional requirement of presumption of innocence, I find no reason why Kariuki’s personal business engagements should be restricted,” Mr Cheruiyot.
The magistrate noted that the prosecution did not oppose the release of the two travel documents to Mr Kariuki who is charged alongside eight others.
“I direct that his two passports be released to him allow him travel abroad as may be necessary,” the court ruled.
The magistrate required Mr Kariuki to avail a surety to stand bail for him and undertake that the accused attends court when required.
The case will he mentioned on September 26.
Mr Kariuki has denied charges of failing to pay Sh41 billion in tax, being in possession of 80 drums of 250 litres each of ethanol worth Sh7,402,985 with payment of relevant duty and being in possession of counterfeit excise duty stamps in Thika.