A Nairobi court has allowed businesswoman and Jubilee Party sponsor Mary Wambui Mungai to travel to Turkey.
The accused person is apparently traveling to the foreign country for the purchase of furniture for a hotel she is putting up in Nairobi.
On Monday, the billionaire informed Chief Magistrate Felix Kombo that she will be traveling to Turkey on February 24 for a pre-inspection and approval of the furnishings her firm had purchased.
“I am required to travel to Turkey for a pre-inspection and approval of furniture prototypes in satisfaction of the terms of a contract for manufacture and supply of hotel furniture between Glee Hotel ltd, a company in which I am the principal director and shareholder and Sagist Group, a hotel furniture factory in Istanbul, Turkey,” she said in an affidavit.
She claimed that if she does not travel, her company would suffer financial losses. She further pledged to deposit her passport in court once she jets back into the country.
The prosecution, on the other hand, objected to her passport request, claiming that she would flee the country and operate her business from abroad, thereby postponing her trial in the Sh2.2 billion tax fraud case.
The investigating officer also told the court that the entrepreneur had not specified her return date and that the Glee hotel is under probe for failing to pay Sh180 million in taxes.
According to records obtained from the Registrar of Companies, Glee Hotel Limited has two other directors with large holdings, the investigator told the court.
“The applicant has not established the inadequacy of one director who has not been charged before this court to conduct the business of the company and she cannot therefore purport to be the only one capable of effecting the terms of the contract between the company and Sagist Group Supplier,” Mr Francis Barasa, an officer attached to DCI said.
Mr Barasa also said Purma Holdings had omitted Sh4.5 billion from its income tax forms between 2014 and 2019, resulting in a tax due of Sh2.2 billion.
The court also heard that Ms Mungai is also a director and beneficial owner of seven other firms that failed to pay their tax duties between 2014 and 2019 and were served with tax inquiry findings for a total tax due of Sh806 million.
“The tax implication flowing from Purma Holdings Limited and the related companies is quite enormous and we are apprehensive that the applicant may flee to avoid recovery of the established taxes or the likelihood of further charges being instituted against her in relation to the aforesaid companies on tax evasion,” he said.