Billionaire Humphrey Kariuki won the first round of battle with DPP Noordin Haji after a court lifted an order freezing his bank accounts.
Kiambu Senior Principal Magistrate Stella Atambo on Friday, September 13, lifted the freeze on the accounts of nine companies associated with the businessman.
The accounts are held at two local banks and were frozen in August, after the DPP moved to court and secured the orders targeting the accounts of the accused’s company, WOW Beverages, which is based in Thika.
While making the ruling, Atambo stated that the freeze order was not sought in a proper manner.
“The orders that were consequently extracted by the investigating officers included orders of preservation of accounts, an order that was never granted by this court even though the court signed the extracted order which contained the subject preservation orders.
“The order for preservation can thus be said to have been improperly obtained. It is not sincere for the prosecution to submit that this court has no jurisdiction to correct own mistakes. The prosecution cannot be allowed to ride on orders it never sought and now allege that the court’s hands are tied,” she stated during the ruling.
She further revealed that the orders to freeze the WOW beverages accounts were never served to the accused.
“If there is no other overwhelming evidence, then there is no reason why this court cannot grant such stay if there are good grounds advanced. The special circumstance herein as earlier stated is that the orders in place, to wit, freezing of account orders were never granted by this court.
"There was no prayer for the preservation of any account made and such is a unique circumstance whereby the extracted order contains an order that was prayed on,” the magistrate added.
Kariuki is facing charges of evading taxes amounting to Ksh41 billion.
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