NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 14 – Billionaire Humphrey Kariuki and four others directors of Africa Spirits Limited and WOW Beverages Limited were on Thursday grilled at the Directorate of Criminal Investigations for more than nine hours over tax evasion and forgery claims.
Other directors include Peter Njenga Kuria, Mary Wambui, Robert Thinji and Dennis Mureithi.
Kariuki, a reclusive businessman was accompanied by city lawyer Cecil Miller.
They were grilled by a team drawn from the Kenya Revenue Authority, Bank Fraud Investigations Unit and Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions.
“They will not spend the night in custody because we’re not yet done with investigations,” a senior detective privy to the ongoing investigations told Capital FM News.
He said they want to build a strong case.
“Once done, the file shall be forwarded to the ODPP for perusal and approval,” the officer said.
Another source said they are focusing on recovering what could have been “stolen” and charging those suspected to be guilty.
This follows last week’s raid in the Africa Spirits Limited, the Thika based liquor firm, where detectives uncovered 21 million fake Kenya Revenue Authority excise stamps, tens of thousands litres of ethanol suspected to be smuggled into the country from Tanzania among other things.
The DCI Flying Squad raided the firm in a weeklong exercise that culminated in an operation led by DCI George Kinoti who said it would be extended to other firms believed to be engaging in unscrupulous businesses to rake in billions.
According to detectives, the country has been losing about Sh3 billion worth of tax.
The DCI wanted to question the directors to get information which may assist in investigations.
“They are required to appear before the investigating officers at DCI Headquarters along Kiambu Road on 14th day of February 2019 at 8am without fail. It is an offence under Section 52(2) of the National Police Service Act 2011 to fail to comply with this requisition,” a statement from the DCI said.
Other firms implicated in the saga include Gemtal Limited, Claudine Mathis, Signature Wines (HK) Limited, Golden Valley Properties Limited, Lionsbridge Limited, Golden Valley Properties Limited and the Directors of SICPA Kenya Limited.
A statement issued Friday by the Kenya Revenue Authority said Africa Spirits is the manufacturers of portable spirits including Glen Rock, Legend Black, Blue Moon, Legend Brandy among others.
Githii Mburu, the Commissioner of Intelligence at Kenya Revenue Authority said they were also pursuing any of their officers that may have failed to act.
More than 300,000 litres of undeclared ethanol was seized at Africa Spirits.
DCI Kinoti told Capital FM News that the factory would remain sealed until the end of the security operation.