Tax evasion charges against businessman Stuart Gerald withdrawn
Tax evasion charges against businessman Stuart Gerald who was charged alongside tycoon Humphrey Kariuki have been withdrawn.
Stuart – a former director at WOW beverages faced charges of evading taxes of up to Ksh. 17billion.
Chief Magistrate Francis Andayi discharged Gerald following an application by the Director of Public Prosecutions to withdraw the charges.
Andayi in his ruling directed that the cash bail he deposited in court last year be released to him.
Others who Stuart was charged with for tax evasion include Peter Njenga Kuria (director, Africa Spirits Ltd), Robert Thinji Murithi (director, Wow), Geofrey Kinoti (director, Africa Spirits).
Stuart however wrote to the Director of Public Prosecution asking him to consider reviewing the charges against him after evidence supplied in court failed to link him to the scheme.
The charges alleged that they deliberately failed to pay taxes, falsified records, omitted records from the Value Added Tax (VAT) and concealed excise stamp duties between February 2016 to December 2018, leading to a tax loss of Ksh. 41billion.
On Sunday evening, Stewart responded to the ruling saying: “This is great news and a huge relief for me. I was not even a material party to these suits. I have never been a director of Africa Spirits or ever visited the factory where the alleged crimes took place. The law suits concern events specific to Africa Spirits’ activity in 2019. I have only ever been a director of Wines of the World and non executive since 2016. This is what we demonstrated to ODPP when we applied for review resulting in the the ODPP’s acknowledgement that there was no evidence to prosecute me hence the withdrawal of charges against me.”
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