Siaya Senator James Orengo is one of the best lawyers the country has. It is out of this reason that Tabitha Karanja has contracted him to be his lead lawyer in the tax evasion lawsuit. Tabitha was arrested alongside her husband Joseph Karanja over Sh14 billion tax evasion claims. She is s also accused of evading payment of excise duty amounting to Sh2.1 billion for the same items.
Both Mr and Mrs Karanja were arraigned in court on Friday morning. They separately spend the night in different police custody, but Mr Karanja was released earlier for medical concerns. Karen Hospital made a plea him being in custody was endangering his life. He had just had a heart surgery.
Orengo quoted to the court Matthew 19:6 which says “what God has put together let no man put asunder” in reference to the arrest of his clients’ arrest on Thursday.
Lawyer Orengo said the state committed a cardinal sin when “Mr Karanja was separated from his Lady yesterday.” This Orengo said the court should be considered when giving the Karanjas bail because they were a single entity.
“Its evidently clear that Mr Karanja cannot be put in custody going by his medical condition. We are a state governed by the bill of rights,” Orengo said.
He was responding to Prosecutor Catherine Mwaniki’s assertion that though they were not opposed to bail, the court should consider the Sh14 billion amount in question.
“There is a statutory process to determine any dispute in relation to tax assessment demand. There is a specific procedure governing tax issues, Orengo said.
He added that the accused are presumed to be innocent and that since there was no material placed before the court, the figure of Sh14 billion should not be a factor to take into consideration in granting bail.
Tabitha and her husband Joseph Karanja are represented by Orengo, Murang’a Senator Irungu Kang’ata and lawyers Kioko Kilukumi and Kiragu Kimani. The prosecution is led by Catherine Mwaniki and Alexander Muteti.
Muteti told the court that the accused persons have been aware that the Kenya Revenue Authority required clarifications on the matter of taxes.
He noted that they were summoned to appear before KRA but still chose not to do what is required of them in the law after this engagement.