A Nairobi court has called forward a former CEO and top executive of the global telecoms firm Nokia Corporation to answer to charges of illegally obtaining tax information of a Kenyan tech company.
Rajee Suri, who was released from Nokia last July was summoned this week by Milimani Senior resident Magistrate David Ndugi to testify alongside Aapo Saariviti as well as the firm’s lawyers, Roschier Attorneys LTS. All three parties will have to plead to charges related to Kenyan firm Technoservice’s tax records.
According to Technoservice, Nokia obtained the tax records from the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) and used the information in a case before the International Court of Arbitration. The case that was pitting these two companies was later withdrawn but details around it were never made public.
The court documents state that Technoservice had been informed of Nokia’s plans, which is what led to the case dismissal. “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,” the records read.
However, the Kenyan firm took the case to the Nairobi court on December 9th and was allowed to privately prosecute directors of the Finnish multinational telco.
The local court noted that Technoservice had not taken any step to prosecute Nokia or its agents despite lodging a complaint with the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) and the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).
Technoservice has still insisted that Nokia obtained the information without its consent for purposes of defeating justice in the arbitration proceedings.
On the other hand, Nokia challenges the claims stating that the filings were defective and had to be by diplomatic means as a foreign firm.
Nokia also said Technoservice was litigious and that the case was a demonstration of its owner’s vindictive attitude against the multinational firm.
Nothing is decided yet but it will be interesting to see how the case goes on with the individual former executive now summoned on the dock.