KRA in fresh bid to shut down Keroche Breweries

Keroche Breweries chief executive Tabitha Karanja addresses the media on March 9, 2022. PHOTO | DIANA NGILA | NMG

The Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) has gone back to the High Court seeking to reverse a decision directing it to re-open the Naivasha-based Keroche Breweries Ltd.

The taxman says the ruling by Justice Alfred Mabeya last week contradicts earlier orders issued by the court and agreements between them on the payment of taxes running into billions of shillings.

Justice Mabeya earlier directed the KRA to allow the company to resume operations by unsealing Keroche’s packaging line, and stores, and reactivating the Exercisable Goods Management System.

Justice Abigail Mshila declined to certify the case as urgent as sought by KRA and instead directed the case to be heard by Justice Mabeya on September 22. This means that the firm will remain open as the court directed.

The judge also told Keroche to pay Sh8 million to KRA as the first installment of the tax arrears. The company will pay a similar amount on the 30th day of every month.

“That the applicant to ensure that it continues to pay its current taxes without fail,” the judge said as he directed the case to be heard on September 22.

Keroche agreed in December last year to pay Sh21 million as a condition for reopening the factory and subsequent pay of Sh30 million, which was due in April. The firm’s chief executive officer Tabitha Karanja, however, told the court that she was under immense pressure to sign the said agreement.

She said Keroche managed to pay Sh20.8 million so that the plant could be reopened but it was unable to pay the second installment, leading to the closure in June.

“It is the respondent’s view that the case and the Orders sought go contrary to previous orders issued by the same Court and the consent agreements arrived at and signed by the two parties,” KRA said.

Ms Karanja pleaded with the court to reopen the firm saying the shutdown would lead to the loss of 87,500 litres of beer, which has been filtered and ready for packaging, 1.2 million litres in six tanks of beer that are ready for filtration and packaging, and loss of Sh350 million if the beer is destroyed.

The company further said it will lose Sh35 million in monthly salaries and operational costs and accruing interests for loans taken in Absa, Equity, and Family banks. Loss of market share.

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