NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 2 – Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Noordin Haji now wants businessman Humphrey Kariuki gagged from addressing the media.
Senior Assistant Director of Public Prosecutions Vincent Monda on Monday told the court that the accused should not address the media or issue any press statement while the matter is still pending before court.
However, the duty magistrate said such an application should be raised before trial magistrate’s court when the matter comes for a pre-trial conference.
The tycoon’s lawyers Kioko Kilukumi and Cecil Miller told the court the media briefing was planned, saying that freedom of expression should not be stopped by the office of the DPP.
Kariuki had tweeted that he intended to address the media after the mention of the case but cancelled the briefing following the developments in court.
Kariuki and his co-directors have denied criminal charges of alleged tax evasion amounting to Sh41 billion.
He and his co-accused were charged with the offence of failing to pay tax to the government between June 2016 and August 2018.
Kariuki presented himself in court following summons issued by trial magistrate Francis Andayi, during which he was released on a cash bail of Sh11 million or a bond of Sh20 million.
The court observed that three directors of Africa Spirits Limited had been released on similar terms and it could be discriminatory to increase the bond terms against Kariuki.
He was ordered to deposit his travel documents in court.
The court also barred Kariuki from leaving its jurisdiction without authorization.
The court further directed the businessman to present himself to the office of the DCI within six hours after securing bail for purposes of having his fingerprints taken.
The prosecution had applied for the summons, when three directors were charged with the offence of failing to pay tax to the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) as required by law.
The trio – Peter Njenga, Robert Thinji and Kepha Githu Gakure – denied the criminal charges and are out on a cash bail of Sh11 million each.
They were ordered to deposit their traveling documents in court.
A pre-trial for all the accused is set for September 5.