Billionaire businessman Humphrey Kariuki has been charged with nine tax evasion-related charges.
Kariuki finally presented himself at the Milimani Law Courts on Monday morning, nearly two weeks after court summons were issued against him.
Appearing before Magistrate Francis Andayi, the businessman alongside Stuart Geraid, Simon Maundu, Africa Spirits Limited, and Wow Beverages Limited were charged with evading taxes amounting to Ksh.41 billion between 2014 and 2019.
They denied all the charges pending their release on bail.
A magistrate court in Nairobi summoned Kariuki on August 9 after he failed to appear in court to face charges.
A search mounted by multi-agency security last week reportedly traced the businessman to London after it emerged that he was out of the country.
Through his lawyer Kioko Kilukumi, Kariuki told the court that he returned to the country on Sunday night just a day before the court appearance.
While applying to have his client granted bail, Kilukumi refuted claims that Kariuki had gone into hiding, insisting that he is not a flight risk.
“There was no warrant of arrest either local or international issues against him,” Kilikumi argued.
“It is his constitutional rights to be granted bail. We ask you to grant our plea on reasonable bail terms.”
Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji approved tax evasion charges against the businessman after an audit by the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) allegedly revealed that his company Africa Spirits Limited/WOW Beverages Limited had evaded the payment of tax amounting to Ksh.41,539,038,448 between 2014-2019.
Kariuki’s lawyer had previously informed the court that the businessman was out of the jurisdiction and therefore unable to attend court proceedings.
At the time, his lawyer could also not ascertain when Kariuki would be back in the country.