A Nairobi court has issued summons to a former CEO and top executive of the multinational telecoms giant Nokia Corporation on allegations of unlawfully collecting tax details from a Kenyan tech firm.
Rajee Suri, who was the CEO of Nokia until last July, and Aapo Saariviti, as well as the firm’s lawyers, Roschier Attorneys LTS, have been summoned to appear in court remotely and plead to multiple charges relating to TechnoService’s tax records by Milimani Senior resident Magistrate David Ngugi.
Since they refused to turn up on March 16 at 2 p.m., he wants them to appear on April 28, setting the scene for a diplomatic spat.
Mr. Suri’s lawyers have denied knowledge of the Nairobi lawsuit, while Roschier Attorneys LTS and Mr. Saariviti’s lawyers have objected to the suit, claiming that the allegations are unfounded.
Nokia, according to TechnoService, received the tax documents from the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) and used the details in a lawsuit between the two companies that was pending before the International Court of Arbitration.
According to court filings, the lawsuit was eventually dismissed, and the facts were not made public.
According to the Kenyan company, Nokia officials should be charged with conspiracy to fabricate facts, conspiracy to defeat justice, make a false record, and uttering a false document.
Mr. Saarikivi and Evans Monari of Roschier Attorneys Limited objected to the plea, claiming that the allegations 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.
Rajeev Suri, according to his lawyer Abbas Esmail, has not been presented with a summons.
He said, “We have seen an affidavit purporting to have served the third accused individual from an account that does not belong to him.”
The motion for adjournment was refused by TechnoService attorneys, who argued that the convicted parties are aware of the warrant and charges.
Nokia has also disputed the allegations, claiming that the filings were faulty and immigrants needed to be served diplomatically.
Taib Ali Taib, a lawyer and special prosecutor at the Directorate of Public Prosecutions, requested a postponement, saying that he had just been hired by the Finnish corporation and wanted time to familiarize himself with the matter.
According to Mr. Taib, Nokia was unaware of the charges and requested 21 days to get proper guidance.
On December 9, a Nairobi court granted the Kenyan firm the right to sue the Finnish multinational’s directors in private.
Nokia, according to TechnoService, received the facts to thwart justice in the arbitration proceedings.
In a related situation, the Kenyan corporation accused Nokia of violating a 2006 cooperation agreement.
TechnoServe claims it was forced to invest in the deal by Nokia Care branded service centers being established worldwide. It said that the centers were later moved to Microsoft without its permission.