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Liquor manufacturer Africa Spirits probed over Sh1.2bn tax evasion

Director of Criminal Investigations George Kinoti
Director of Criminal Investigations George Kinoti during a raid at Africa Spirits premises in Thika. PHOTO | MARY WAMBUI | NMG 

Thika-based liquor manufacturer Africa Spirits Limited is being investigated by the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) an accusations of evading Sh1.2 billion tax through use of counterfeit stamps.

KRA said in a statement that it was carrying out investigations jointly with the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) after large consignments of counterfeit excise stamps and suspected illicit ethanol were found within the firm’s premises.

During the operations that commenced on the night of January 31, an estimated 21 million counterfeit excise stamps and 312,000 litres of illicit products were seized, according to KRA.

“Arrangements are in progress to seal the premises to enable in depth investigations into the racket,” KRA Commissioner General John Njiraini said in a joint statement with the DCI.

Africa Spirits is a licensed manufacturer of potable spirits including Glen Rock, Legend Black, Blue Moon, Legend Brandy, Gypsy King and Furaha.

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The directors of the company and other senior management are being sought by the investigators.

KRA said a production manager at the factory has already been arraigned in court and detained for seven days to facilitate further investigation.

This is latest in a number of operations that have seen the taxman crack down on businesses selling fake or counterfeit goods or evading taxes.

KRA has been carrying out operations under multi-agency team to stem out illicit trade.

Traders in major towns such as Nairobi, Mombasa and Kisumu have in the recent past also been found selling liquor that either lacked KRA stamps or quality mark from Kenya National Bureau of Standards (Kebs).

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