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Kenyan authorities have launched a manhunt for multi-millionaire businessman Humphrey Kariuki Ndegwa on allegations of evading taxes of more than $30 million and smuggling substandard ethanol products into the country.
On Thursday, the Kenyan Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) raided the Thika-based offices of Africa Spirits Limited, a company owned by the businessman, where they found smuggled ethanol, 312,000 liters of illicit liquor and 21 million fake Kenya Revenue Authority stamps. The factory has since been shut down.
According to a report by the Star newspaper, Kariuki and his key employees went into hiding on receiving news that detectives from the DCI and the police service had raided the beverage company’s offices. Kariuki has been in hiding ever since.
The DCI alleges that Africa Spirits has been smuggling ethanol of questionable quality which has been used to produce some of its popular vodka, gin, and whisky brands which the DCI says is unfit for human consumption. The Kenya Revenue Authority also alleges that the company has failed to remit more than $30 million in taxes. The authorities have since arrested and detained a production manager at the factory to facilitate further investigation.
Humphrey Kariuki, 62, is the founder of Janus Continental Group, a conglomerate that includes The Hub – a premier shopping mall in Nairobi; Africa Spirits, a leading manufacturer of Alcoholic beverages; Dalbit Petroleum, one of the largest oil distributors in East and Southern Africa, and Great Lakes Africa Energy, a U.K-based company that is a developer and operator of power projects in Southern Africa. Ndegwa is also the owner of the 5-star Fairmont Mount Kenya Safari Club, and the neighbouring Mount Kenya Wildlife Conservancy and Animal Orphanage. One of Kenya’s most prominent businesspeople, Kariuki is also one of its most controversial. He had been linked in the past to organised crime, but always denied his involvement with businesses in the underworld. Last year he won a libel suit against the popular Standard Newspaper in Kenya on allegations linking him and his businesses to human, narcotics and weapons trafficking.
A spokesperson for Kariuki declined to comment for this article.
By Mfonobong NseheSource: Forbes
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