APPLICATION BY DPP IN KIAMBU COURT AN ABUSE OF COURT PROCESS

Humphrey Kariuki company wants order freezing accounts lifted

Lawyer Cecil Miller gestures during petition hearing at the supreme./FILE
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In Summary

• Africa spirits says unless the Kiambu orders are immediately suspended, its director’s liberty stands to be curtailed.

• The company says the effect of the Kiambu order will shut down its operations and cause the company to default on their monthly statutory obligations such as NHIF, NSSF, PAYE, VAT all which attract penalties.

Thika-based alcohol manufacturing plant, African spirits has filed a case seeking to have orders preserving its bank accounts for a period of 90 days set aside.

Through lawyer Cecil Miller, the firm says the orders preserving its accounts has rendered it unable to comply with the bail terms set by Milimani Chief Magistrate Francis Andayi.

On August 19, the directors of Africa spirits were arraigned before Andayi and charged with failing to pay taxes. They were released on Sh22 million bond each with a surety of a similar amount or pay alternative cash bail of Sh11 million each and were given three days to comply with terms. They were also required to deposit their passports with the court.

The company now claims that since their accounts were frozen in a different court in Kiambu, it has become impossible for them to continue operating or accessing their funds.

Africa spirits says unless the Kiambu orders are immediately suspended, its director’s liberty stands to be curtailed.

“The warrants issued in Kiambu court are illegal as the magistrate had no jurisdiction to issue orders preserving funds of persons who were not parties to the application filed by the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP),” read the court documents.  

The company says the application by the DPP at Kiambu court was an abuse of the court process as they failed to disclose to the court that they had made a similar application, which had been denied at Milimani law court.

It further accuses the DPP of using Africa Spirit as a scapegoat to obtain orders in Kiambu against other operating companies and businesses under the guise that the same were directors of Africa spirits.

Africa Spirits claims that the companies whose accounts are listed as Wow beverages limited and Kisima management company Limited in the Kiambu order issued on 16 august are not directors of Africa spirits.

“Unless the orders preserving our bank accounts for a period of 90 days are immediately suspended, they will certainly cause grievous harm, loss and damage to the companies, not to mention the loss, harm and indignity their employees, suppliers and creditors will suffer,” it says.

According to the court documents the effect of the Kiambu order will shut down its operations and cause the company to default on their monthly statutory obligations such as NHIF, NSSF, PAYE, VAT all which attract penalties.

“The orders issued in Kiambu were obtained through abuse of legal process entailing misrepresentation and non-disclosure of material facts and forum shopping and hence ought to be immediately suspended to preserve the dignity and integrity of the courts and criminal justice system,” read the documents.

High court judge Jessie Lessit directed the company to serve the Attorney General’s office and both the DPP and Inspector General of Police file their responses in the next five days. The case will be heard on September 17.