- A former CEO and a top executive of the global telecoms firm Nokia Corporation has opposed summons from a Nairobi court.
- Milimani Senior resident Magistrate David Ndugi has issued fresh summons against Rajee Suri, who was CEO of Nokia until last July.
A former CEO and a top executive of the global telecoms firm Nokia Corporation has opposed summons from a Nairobi court to charges of illegally obtaining tax information of a Kenyan tech company.
Milimani Senior resident Magistrate David Ndugi has issued fresh summons against Rajee Suri, who was CEO of Nokia until last July and Aapo Saariviti as well as the firm’s lawyers– Roschier Attorneys LTS– to appear in court virtually and plead to several charges related to TechnoService’s tax records.
He wants them to appear on April 28 after they failed to show up on March 16 at 2pm, setting the stage for a diplomatic spat.
Lawyers acting for Mr Suri have denied knowledge of the Nairobi case while advocates for Roschier Attorneys LTS and Mr Saariviti have objected to the suit, saying the charges are irregular.
TechnoService reckons that Nokia obtained the tax records from the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) and used the information in a case that was pending before the International Court of Arbitration pitting the two firms.
The case was later withdrawn and its details not made public, according to court documents.
The Kenyan company wants officials of Nokia to face charges of conspiracy to fabricate evidence, conspiracy to defeat justice, making a false document and uttering a false document.
Lawyer Evans Monari for Roschier Attorneys limited and Mr Saarikivi objected to the plea taking, arguing that the charges were irregular.
“The charge sheet before court today with twelve counts is different from the one approved by the court. My instructions is to object the same,” he said.
Lawyer Abbas Esmail told the court that his client Rajeev Suri has not been served with summons.
“We have seen affidavit purporting to have served the third accused person through an email that doesn’t belong to him,” he submitted.
TechnoService lawyers opposed the application for adjournment, arguing the accused persons are aware of the summons and the charges.
Nokia has also challenged the claims, saying the filings were defective and that they were foreigners and, therefore, required to be served by diplomatic means.
Lawyer Taib Ali Taib who is also special prosecutor at the office of Director of Public Prosecutions, sought an adjournment, claiming he had just been appointed by the Finnish firm and needed time to familiarise himself with the case.
According to Mr Taib, Nokia was not aware of the charges and sought 21 days to seek proper direction.
On December 9, a Nairobi court allowed the Kenyan company to privately prosecute directors of the Finnish multinational.
“Tax records are confidential, yet it would appear that the applicant’s tax filings were disclosed to the respondents or their representatives who were able to use the records in the ICC arbitration,” court records show.
TechnoService alleged that Nokia obtained the information for purposes of defeating justice in the arbitration proceedings.
The Kenyan company had in a separate case accused Nokia of breaching a partnership signed between them in 2006.
TechnoService said it was coerced into investing in the deal by establishing Nokia Care branded service centres across the country. The centres were later transferred to Microsoft without its consent, it argued.