Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) manager, Joseph Chege Gikonyo has been living a wealthy life over the last decade. The total assets the manager has acquired are costing at least Sh597 million.
What surprises detectives is that even the chief executives in the leading companies in terms of assets do not match his investment portfolio.
This is the same Joseph Chege Gikonyo, the “Hardworking” Civil Servant who was earning 110k Per Month at KRA in 2018 but was worth 600 Million Kenya Shillings.
Apart from the 10 homes he has across Nairobi, Kilifi and Mombasa, the KRA boss has investments in Equity bank, Safaricom, Kenya Reinsurance Corporation and Madison Insurance.
The EACC filed a suit against Joseph Gikonyo and his wife to have them surrender their illegally acquired wealth in 2018. The couple has been tried many times in the Anti-Corruption and Economic Crimes Court at Milimani over how they managed to acquire Sh597 million in 5 years.
According to the EACC, Joseph Gikonyo has used his position in KRA to acquire the wealth he boasts of.
The EACC arrested Mr. Gikonyo and his wife Lucy Kangai over tax evasion of at least Sh38.6 million which increased through their investment.
The couple as well as their company, Gichie Limited denied the charges before Chief Magistrate Lawrence Mugambi. Mr. Gikonyi and his wife are both directors of their company.
They have failed to remit Sh38,692,694 to the Kenya Revenues Authority. This money, according to the EACC arose from their taxable income and accrued penalties.
“The commission has established that between 2010 and 2015, Joseph Chege Gikonyo and Lucy Kangai Stephen both being directors of Giche Ltd, a limited liability company registered under the laws of Kenya, fraudulently failed to pay taxes to the KRA to the sum of Sh38,692,694 being the company’s tax due and expenses.”
“Upon completion of the investigation and under Section 35 of the Anti-Corruption and Economic Crimes Act the file was submitted to the office of the DPP who upon approval has granted consent to apprehend and arraign before court Joseph Chege Gikonyo, Lucy Kangai Stephen and M/S Giche Limited,” Mr. Mbarak said.
The accused applied to be released on bond. Their defense lawyers, Abbas Esmail and Gibson Kimani said that the couple has been paying their arrears and therefore their prosecution is an abuse of the court process.
“Mr. Gikonyo is an assistant manager with KRA, but is on interdiction,” Mr. Esmail told the court.
He said that the couple had given a satisfactory explanation to the High Court on how they acquired their wealth back in 2016 when the EACC froze their bank accounts and shut down 5 of their properties. The issue was resolved according to the lawyer.
“The High Court made an emphatic finding that the accused had satisfactorily explained how he had acquired the properties, which are owned by Gichie Limited,” Mr. Esmail said.
The court heard that EACC had further commenced another case under the Anti-Corruption and Economic Crimes Act (ACECA) in 2018 which was determined by Justice Hedwig Ong’udi.
“The two High Court judges have pronounced themselves about the issues which KRA has been pursuing with Gichie Limited over tax,” Mr. Esmail.
Mr. Esmail argued that issues with tax evasion had nothing to do with what the couple is facing right now. He further said that Section 80 of the Tax Procedures Act, 2015, prohibits prosecution tax assessment has been issued and the taxpayer is having penalties.
The EACC has lost twice in the high court in efforts to investigate how Mr. Gikonyo and his wife accumulated so much wealth in a few years.
They were arrested from their residence in Mombasa by the EACC detectives and were driven to Nairobi to face trial. The couple has applied for their release on bail.
State prosecutor Annette Wangia said that the KRA is not to blame since the issues of the freezing of the accounts had been dealt with the high court.
“The matter pending in court has nothing to do with the case before the court, which is for failing to pay tax,” Ms. Wangia submitted.