By Joy Kyalo
The Director of Public Prosecution Noordin Haji has filed an appeal against a decision to acquit billionaire businessman Humphrey Kariuki.
DPP wants the High Court to quash or set aside the decision to acquit the billionaire and his co-accused Peter Njenga, Robert Thinji, Eric Mulwa, Kepha Gakure, African Spirits limited and Wow Beverages limited
“We seek the court that the acquittal order be quashed and or set aside,” says the DPP.
This is after Milimani Senior Principal Magistrate Kennedy Cheruiyot acquitted Kariuki and six others of charges of being in possession of un-customed ethanol of Sh7.4 million and tax evasion, Haji terms the decision unfair, saying the acquittal was without any factual or legal basis.
Haji has argued that the magistrate misjudged his judicial duties of maintaining an accurate and proper record of the proceedings hence the entire proceedings are a nullity.
He says the magistrate considered irrelevant or extraneous matters thus arriving at unjust decision in law.
“…the learned trial magistrate went on to observe that the court would be deemed to be interfering with the DPP’s discretion as to who to call as a witness, what to present as evidence or exhibits and by whom, how many witnesses to call and when to close the prosecution’s case”.
On December 7, the accused was cleared by Cheruiyot saying the prosecution has not been ready to present any evidence in court even after scheduling the case to be heard on a back-to-back basis for three days.
“Since the prosecution is not ready to prosecute this case, I proceed to dismiss both charges and acquit the accused persons under section 202 of the criminal procedure code,” he said.
Further, he said that he found no reason that makes it proper or appropriate to adjourn the hearing of the case.
This was after the DPP asked the court to adjourn the matter to allow them consolidate the case with two others facing Kariuki before different magistrates.
Kariuki was accused of evading over Sh14 billion tax, a charge he has denied.
The DPP opened three different files on several counts including forgery, money laundering and tax evasion with two other cases still pending before other magistrates.