, NAIROBI, Kenya Oct 22 – The pre-trial conference in three tax evasion cases facing businessman Humphrey Kariuki and directors in his firms have been pushed to January 14 next year.
This was after the prosecution requested for more time to supply all the accused – through their defence counsels – with hard copies of witness statements and documentary exhibits.
Senior Assistant Director of Public Prosecutions Vincent Monda told Nairobi Chief Magistrate Francis Andayi who is handling one of the cases that the matter should be mentioned on January 14 to enable them time to supply the hard copies.
In the meantime, the prosecution will make the hard copies of the witness statements and documentary evidence available to all the defence lawyers by December 5.
Kariuki and directors of his Africa Spirits and Wines of the Wolrd are charged tax evasion amounting to Sh41 billion.
The defence teams will be given access to visit the offices of the Directorate of Criminal Investigations between December 5 and January 14 to inspect and verify the original documents to the used in the cases.
Similar orders were also issued in 2 other cases before two separate courts.
The pre-trial conferences also failed to kick off previously on 26 September over missing crucial documents to be used by the prosecution.
Defence lawyers at the time argued they were unable to proceed with the pre-trial conference due to the missing documents supplied in DVDs.
Lawyers Kioko Kilukumi and Cecil Miler for Kariuki told the court that when they opened the supplied DVD, not all documents listed in the inventory in court were contained.
They argued that the inconsistencies were numerous making it difficult for them to prepare their defence.
They argued that the prosecution was obligated to supply the defence in advance with all materials to be produced before court.
They told the court the prosecution was required to supply the defence with the documents in hard copy.
They urged the court to ask the prosecution to provide the documents in an organized and acceptable manner for transparency.
They told the courts that the documents supplied to different defence lawyers were inconsistent with some citing missing pages.
The prosecution told the court that they are relying on 7,500 pages of documents.