“I am being harassed,” says Keroche boss Tabith Karanja in a Ksh.14 bn tax evasion row

Keroche Breweries Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Tabitha Karanja has rubbished allegations of evading taxes amounting to Ksh.14.4 billion, accusing the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) of “harassment and intimidation.”

This comes after DPP Noordin Haji order of arrest of the Keroche Breweries boss and her husband Joseph Karanja for allegedly failing to pay Excise Duty and Value Added Tax (VAT) on its various products including Crescent Vodka, Viena Ice and Summit beers as well as duty stamps.

Mrs. Karanja, in a press statement, said she had not received any formal communication from the office of the DPP, adding that she was only made aware of the news as she was driving home from work by calls from “concerned Kenyans, our financiers, distributors across the country, customers and other concerned stakeholders.”

“We are deeply shocked beyond imagination by both the allegations made and the manner at which the matter has been handled from the dissemination of the information. My shock is how a local investor can be, humiliated, embarrassed and denied the well deserved respect…” read the statement

According to the CEO, the only dispute Keroche Breweries has with the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) is on the applicable rate on Viena Ice ready to drink vodka which, she stated, is presently ongoing at the tax appeals tribunal.

“It is not in good faith for the office of the DPP to purport to prosecute a matter that is still under determination undermining an institution obligated to handle such matters,” she added.

“As a local company we have gone through numerous challenges as a result of which mostly has been castigated by our competitors and it’s my plea as a home grown investor to be supported for our tireless efforts in building a Kenyan story of self-determination, resilience and a belief in ourselves.”

Mrs. Karanja further urged the DPP to avoid being misled and to first get his facts right about the matter.

“There’s nowhere documented in the world where you can build a business having complied all through and still be subjected to such embarrassment and intimidation,” she added.

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Lawrence Baraza is a prolific writer with competencies in Digital Media, Print, and Broadcast. Baraza is also a Communication Practitioner currently spearheading Digital content on Metropol TV's Digital Desk.

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