Judge lifts accounts freeze on Jubilee financier in tax row

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Judge lifts accounts freeze on Jubilee financier in tax row


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Billionaire Jubilee party campaign financier Mary Wambui Mungai. FILE PHOTO | NMG

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Summary

  • Justice Alfred Mabeya lifted the order issued in December, saying the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) should have disclosed to the court the existence of the criminal charges, before seeking to block her from accessing the accounts.
  • Justice Mabeya further noted that from the evidence presented before him, it was the taxpayer who was begging the taxman to accept payment of the taxes but KRA chose to look the other way.
  • Ms Mungai and her daughter Purity Njoki were charged with their company -Purma Holdings Ltd- charged with tax evasion in December.

The High Court has lifted an order barring businesswoman Mary Wambui Mungai from accessing 13 bank accounts over a Sh2.5 billion tax dispute, accusing the taxman of rushing to block the money before disclosing she was facing tax evasion charges.

Justice Alfred Mabeya lifted the order issued in December, saying the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) should have disclosed to the court the existence of the criminal charges, before seeking to block her from accessing the accounts.

Justice Mabeya further noted that from the evidence presented before him, it was the taxpayer who was begging the taxman to accept payment of the taxes but KRA chose to look the other way.

“Here is a case of a willing taxpayer whose effort to pay the ascertained taxes is being thwarted by the tax authorities,” the judge said.

Ms Mungai and her daughter Purity Njoki were charged with their company -Purma Holdings Ltd- charged with tax evasion in December. They were released after paying a cash bail of Sh50 million.

KRA then moved to the High Court and froze her accounts arguing that she was likely to frustrate her efforts of recovering the billions.

Ms Mungai, however, said eight of the 13 accounts frozen only hold Sh6 million. Four of the accounts, she added, had been dormant while two did not belong to her, although they were registered in her names.

The taxman accused Ms Mungai and her daughter, both directors of Purma Holdings, of evading to pay Sh2.5 billion by failing to declare the correct taxes from 2014 to 2019.

The KRA says in court documents that Ms Mungai deals in supplies to government departments both in the country and the region.

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