Platinum Distillers loses bid to stop EABL kegs case

Michael King’ara. PHOTO | evans habil
Michael King’ara. PHOTO | evans habil 

Platinum Distillers has lost its bid to quash a criminal case against its director, Michael King’ara, and five other employees over the firm’s alleged use of keg barrels belonging to East African Breweries Limited (EABL) #ticker:EABL.

High Court judge Hatari Waweru dismissed the suit, arguing that the firm has no authority to sue on behalf of its employees who have been charged in their individual capacities.

Mr King’ara was arrested and charged in the Kandara Law Courts after police claimed they found Platinum Distillers employees tampering with keg barrels owned by EABL at his private residence.

Platinum Distillers in its suit claimed that the criminal case had been instigated by EABL as part of a malicious ploy to fight competition.

But EABL denied the claim, insisting that its officials were only called by police to confirm if the barrels found at Mr King’ara’s residence belonged to it. Police also denied acting on EABL’s orders in arresting Mr King’ara and the other five Platinum Distillers employees.

Justice Waweru held in his ruling that Platinum Distillers would only have grounds to move to court on behalf of its employees if the firm itself had also been charged in the Kandara court.

“For Platinum Distillers there is another problem. It has itself not been charged in Kandara SRM Criminal Case No 191 of 2017. The accused persons in that case may be Platinum Distillers’ director and five employees.”

“But they have all been charged in their individual and personal capacities. If the five employees were so minded they could have applied for leave to apply for judicial review. However, Platinum Distillers cannot purport to apply for them. I find no merit in the amended chamber summons dated March 20, 2017,” the judge ruled.

The brewer had also last year filed a separate suit in Nairobi after distributors supplying its products were found with keg barrels labelled with EABL markers but carrying Platinum Distillers beer.