Wambui to pay Sh15 million for court release of passport

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An anti-corruption court has ordered businesswoman Mary Wambui to pay a Sh15 million bond before her passport is released so she can travel to Turkey next month for business.

The DPP had opposed the release of Wambui’s passport saying she was a flightrisk.

But Milimani senior principal magistrate Felix Kombo said he was not convinced she intended to flee to Turkey as her defence lawyer Nelson Havi was able to demonstrate that she had an ongoing grand project.

Kombo said the contract documents presented in court related to projects where massive investments had been made.

Wambui is required to travel to Turkey for pre-inspection and approval of furniture models in satisfaction of the terms of a contract for manufacture and supply of hotel furniture between Glee Hotel Limited, a company in which she is the principal director and shareholder, and Sagist group, a hotel furniture factory in Istanbul, Turkey.

The pre-inspection and approval exercise in Turkey is at the heart of the contract between Glee Hotel Limited and Sagist Group and critical to the performance of the contractual obligations for the manufacture and supply of hotel furniture required by Glee Hotel for its hotel under construction in Nairobi, Kenya.

The Directorate of Criminal Investigations and the Director of Public Prosecutions had opposed the release of the passport saying it is apprehensive that Wambui may not return to Kenya.

Francis Barasa, an officer attached to DCI, said Wambui has vast business interest abroad and is capable of living a comfortable life while abroad, adding that she may decide to shift her focus from Kenya and conduct her business from abroad.

This according to the state may cause a delay in the Sh2.2 billion tax evasion case levelled against her, her daughter Purity Mungai and their company Purma Holdings Limited.

Wambui’s passport and all her travel documents had been deposited in court as one of the conditions set by the court for her release on bail.

The businesswoman was also prohibited from traveling outside the territory of Kenya without prior permission of the court. In compliance with the terms, Wambui deposited her Kenyan passport in court to secure her release.

In releasing the passport, Kombo agreed with Havi the purpose of conditions attached to the grant of bail is to secure the attendance of the accused in court.

The magistrate also found that the claim that Wambui has vast interest abroad insufficient. In respect to Wambui being faced with multiple investigations, Kombo said he is not convinced the existence of multiplicity of investigations or cases gives her incentive to flee.

“She enjoys a presumption of innocence until proven guilty. I am inclined to grant the prayer sought. An additional condition will be attached to the release of passport in which Wambui will be required to provide a temporary Kenyan surety of Sh15 million which will be released upon her return,” Kombo said.

Purma Holdings Limited and its directors Wambui and Purity are accused of knowingly and unlawfully omitting from the company’s income tax returns Sh2.2 billion.

The said monies according to the charge sheet should have been included in the income tax returns submitted to the commissioner for the year  2014. They denied the charges and are out on bail. 

 

 

 

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