Four people among them a former Nyandarua county government Finance Chief Officer Michael Kamau Kuria have been released on a bond of Sh10 million each after denying 58 charges related to tax evasion of Sh116 million.
The Kenya Revenue Authority arraigned Mr Kuria, 37, together with his wife Catherine Wanjiku, his mother Agnes Wanjiku Kuria and business associate Henry Njoroge Gathiga were arraigned at a Nyeri magistrate for failing to pay taxes between 2014 and 2018, the charge sheets indicated.
The four were charged alongside their six trading companies namely Gachomba & Co. Properties, Kaimbaga Enterprises Limited, Ol Kalou Ventures, Githioro General, Kanjuiri General and Wanjohi contractors.
The court heard that they were using the companies to do business with the county government but failed to pay the corporation tax, income tax, the value added tax and pay-as-you-earn tax.
However, the four denied the charges before Senior Resident Magistrate Nelly Kariuki and sought to be released on bond on grounds of their ill health condition and that they have children.
Mr Kuria, who recently shot in the public limelight after the anti-corruption commission started investigating him on allegations of embezzling close to Sh300 million form the devolved unit, said he is diabetic and is due for treatment next month in Canada.
“His body is producing excessive iron and he is diabetic. He travelled back to the country on April 7, this year and was arrested at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport by police on pretext there was departure prohibition order. Kuria and his wife have eight children who are currently living with the househelp,” lawyer Dennis Maina told the court.
The KRA lawyers Sheila Sanga and Doris Ing’ahizu opposed the release of the four traders, saying they are flight risks and their travel documents should be confiscated.
“We empathise with them but this is a case of economic sabotage as every income-earning citizen has the responsibility of paying tax to finance government operations. They benefited with contracts from Nyandarua government, earned huge amounts of money but failed to pay tax,” said Ms Sanga.
The case will be mentioned on June 10 and 12, this year for a pre-trial.