The State says it has found money laundering links involving nine companies associated with tycoon Humphrey Kariuki that have opposed the freezing of their accounts at KCB and National Bank of Kenya (NBK).
The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) has told the High Court that the firms, including Wow Beverages and Dalbit Petroleum, which are shareholders of alcohol manufacturer Africa Spirits Limited (ASL), recorded suspicious movement of money that the State suspects is illicit.
ASL is facing a Sh41 billion tax evasion case alongside Mr Kariuki.
“We humbly submit that so far investigations have also revealed that ASL, Wow Beverages and associates may have possibly been involved in commission of money laundering offences,” the DPP says in court papers.
The DPP has urged the court to reject the plea by ASL to block investigations into the bank accounts of the nine companies.
The accounts of the companies are held at KCB and NBK, whose merger deal is currently at an advanced stage.
ASL has listed the companies whose accounts are being pursued by the Directorate of Criminal Investigations as Wow Beverages, Dalbit Petroleum Limited, Rhine Hart Limited, Section Investments Limited, Janus Continental Group Limited, Belgravia Construction Limited, Azalea Holdings Limited, Kisima Management Company Limited and its account held at NBK.
In evidence filed before High Court Judge Luka Kimaru, ASL shareholders have been listed as Signature Wines (K) Limited, Golden Valley Valley Properties Ltd, Gemtal Ltd, Claudine Mathis, Lion Bridge Limited, Kigumba Limited, Axis Logistics Ltd, Peter Njenga and Geoffrey Kinoti.
“From the CR13/12 records at the Office of Attorney General and Department of Justice, Kigumba Ltd appears as a shareholder of ASL with one ordinary share,” crime detective Njeru states.
The directors of Kigumba according the records at the companies registry are Kisima Management Company Limited, Humphrey Kariuki Ndegwa and Nyawira Ndegwa.
The DPP through State prosecutor Catherine Mwaniki and KRA’s advocate George Ochieng are asking the high court to order a freeze of the accounts to avoid loss of the colossal sums being pursued by the taxmaster.