Authorities in Kenya, are questioning billionaire Humphrey Kariuki over tax evasion, for “producing sub-standard alcohol”, and for not disclosing that he is a holder of a Cypriot passport, Kenyan media report.
The Daily Nation writes that “Mr Kariuki was questioned on his dual citizenship and on why he had not disclosed it as required by law. This further complicates their attempts to unravel the shareholding structure of his various firms.”
While Kenyans have a right to become dual citizens, the Citizenship and Immigration Act states that every Kenyan should disclose their other citizenship within three months of becoming a dual citizen.
According to Kenyan law, the Daily Nation writes, “a citizen who fails to disclose the dual citizenship … “commits an offence and shall be liable, on conviction, to a fine not exceeding five million shillings or imprisonment for a term not exceeding three years or both.”
“We are questioning him on that issue since failure to declare dual citizenship is an offence,” Director of Criminal Investigations George Kinoti said.
Kenyan customs office raid
Humphrey came under the scrutiny of Kenyan authorities’ radar after the discovery of 312,000 litres of illicit liquor and 21 million fake Kenya Revenue Authority stamps at an industry linked to him.
Africa Spirit Limited which was raided by police is only a small part of Kariuki’s multi-billion empire under the name Janus Continental Group, a holding company.
Kariuki ventured into the Wines and Spirits business when he was in his late 20s.
He engaged in the business of distributorship of alcohol products through Wines of the World Limited as the distributor for Jack Daniels, Bacardi and the Edrington Group with premium brands that included The Macallan, The Famous Grouse, and Brugal rum.
Among other investments, Janus company owns a five-star hotel, the luxurious Mt Kenya Safari Club, a retreat for famous Hollywood stars such as William Holden.
The Daily Nation features information about the Cyprus Investment Programme in its article.
It also says that within the EU, Bulgaria, Cyprus and Malta are the only countries that grant investors citizenship without the obligation of physical residence.
“The European Commission said on January 25, 2019 in its first report on investor citizenship and residence schemes operated by the three EU countries that such schemes may pose risks such as security, money laundering, and tax evasion, as well as lack of transparency.
“Cyprus has been under pressure from the EU commissioner for justice, consumers and gender equality, Vera Jourová, to tighten entry of foreigners into the scheme.
“Kariuki has, however, not been charged with any of these — and there is no evidence, at the moment, that he took his Cyprus passport for money laundering purposes or for tax evasion.”
(Picture by kenyans.co.ke)