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Relief for sugar importer in Sh2.5bn tax row

Fred Ngatia for Darasa Investment Limited argues his case before the Court of Appeal sitting in Mombasa on January 23. The firm lost the case. FILE PHOTO | NMG
Fred Ngatia for Darasa Investment Limited argues his case before the Court of Appeal sitting in Mombasa on January 23. The firm lost the case. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

The Supreme Court has stopped the Kenya Revenue Authority from demanding more than Sh2.5 billion from a sugar importer who has accused the taxman of discrimination.

Five judges of the Supreme Court further stopped KRA from impounding or seizing the 40,000 metric tonnes of Brazilian brown sugar imported by Darasa Investments Ltd.

The sugar is at the Port of Mombasa and was shipped into the country by MV Iron Lady.
“In order to preserve the subject matter of this appeal and safeguard the integrity of such orders as this court may ultimately make, we hereby issue an order of injunction restraining the respondents from seizing, attaching or making demands with regard or relating to the appellant’s 40,000 metric tons of Brazilian brown sugar,” Chief Justice David Maraga, Deputy Chief Justice Philomena Mwilu, and Justices Mohamed Ibrahim, Smokin Wanjala and Isaac Lenaola ruled.

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Fault decision

Through lawyer Fred Ngatia, Darasa Investments rushed to the Supreme Court faulting the decision of three judges of the Court of Appeal allowing KRA to demand the tax.

According to Mr Ngatia, the judges erred and wrongly interpreted Article 47 of the Constitution by holding that the High Court and the Court of Appeal had no jurisdiction to determine whether a decision communicated by KRA and the Commissioner, Customs Services was right or wrong.

In the intended appeal, the company argues that its right to fair trial was violated by judges Alnashir Visram, Wanjiru Karanja and Martha Koome.

Darasa will be seeking from the Supreme Court orders compelling KRA to immediately process and immediately release the sugar on duty free basis.

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