•According to Keroche, the Sh14 billion tax evasion claim does not add up based on its annual turnover
•CEO Tabitha Karanja says only dispute with KRA is on the applicable rate on its Viena Ice ready-to-drink vodka. Keroche CEO Tabitha Karanja when she was arrested on Thursday on tax evasion at the Naivasha based factory on August 22, 2019. Keroche Breweries has locked horns with the taxman in yet another dispute which renews a series of tax and licensing stand-offs with authorities dating 16 years back.
In a public statement yesterday, the brewer which is in court for alleged tax evasion poked holes in the case being fronted by the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), where the company is alleged to owe Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) Sh14.4 billion.
According to Keroche, “the much-publicized” figures do not add up based on the firm’s turnover.
Keroche has argued that for the last 13 years, it has been one of Kenya’s largest taxpayers and in the last five years (January 2015 to June 2019), its total turnover of Sh18.5 billion yielded a tax remittance of Sh7.2 billion.
“Basically, 40 per cent of what Keroche produces goes to the government as tax,” Keroche CEO Tabitha Karanja said.
She and her husband Joseph Karanja were arraigned in court last Friday over tax evasion. They were later released on cash bail even as she decried selective and unfair targeting by KRA and the DPP.
“The presentation of an inaccurate file of accusation to the DPP, the deliberate publishing of false information to defame and destroy the reputation of a local Kenyan company reeks of malice, sabotage and not due process,” Karanja said.
To the DPP, the CEO said: “Rush decisions based on improper investigations may be populist but they damage more than what they achieve.”
Currently, Keroche Breweries manages a 1.1 million hectolitres, state-of-the-art breweries facility valued at Sh8.5 billion that employees 850 people directly and thousands indirectly.
If the company is to close today, the impact will be felt by hundreds of households and the community around its Naivasha plant.Kenya National Chambers of Commerce and Industries’ President Richard Ngatia has since lamented the manner which the government is going after suspected tax evader, warning it could affect investments in the country.Keroche woes started in 2003 when the Kenya Bureau of Standards refused to issue stickers to authenticate its alcoholic brands, leading to confiscation of its products.Having taken a hit on wines and spirits, Keroche […]