KRA to auction Pattni assets in Sh2b tax dispute

Auctioneers have attached assets belonging to Goldenberg scandal architect Kamlesh Pattni (pictured) over Sh2.2 billion tax arrears.

Auctioneers appointed by Kenya Revenue Authority last week entered the warehouse of Suzan Duty Free within the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport and attached several assets, including assorted alcoholic beverages and a truck.

An inventory of office equipment and electronic appliances was also done pending a public auction.

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The taxman is seeking to recover Sh2,207,884,743 from Pattni’s company, an amount that includes unpaid principal taxes of Sh748,427,763 and interest of Sh1,459,456,980.

According to KRA, Suzan Duty Free is linked to Diplomatic Duty Free Ltd that is owned by Pattni.

Authorisation person

Directors of Diplomatic Duty Free Ltd are listed as Sankar Ananthanarayan (secretary), Arif Yusuf Hafiz and Ahmed Adan (authorisation person).

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Ananthanarayan also appears as group financial controller of Suzan General Trading Jtl (Suzan Duty Free) associated with Pattni.

The seizure of assets marks a turning point in the protracted battle pitting the businessman against KRA, dating back to 2013.

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According to the auctioneer, John Obura, KRA had demanded the dues from a sister company identified as Diplomatic Duty Free, which folded up.

"Assets and liabilities of the company were transferred to Suzan Duty Free, which is the reason we are attaching the property," he said.

Suzan Duty Free is owned by Pattni -through Dubai-based Suzan General Trading, which also has operations in several countries.

The firm suffered a setback last year after a judge threw out its petition against KRA. An appeal by the company has also been dismissed, setting the stage for the attachment.

On Monday, the High Court in Nairobi ruled in favour of KRA in a case filed by the Dubai-based company, seeking orders to stop the taxman from collecting the billions from its Kenyan affiliate company.

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Justice Pauline Nyamweya struck out a Judicial Review filed on July 28, 2018 by Suzan General Trading Jtl- the Dubai-registered company.

Court orders

The company had sought, among others, an order to stop KRA from enforcing warrants and distress notices issued on July 9, 2018 in respect of unpaid customs duty owed by its affiliate company, Diplomatic Duty Free Ltd.

The company had also sought to stop KRA from interfering with its business operations on account of the debts owed to KRA by Diplomatic Duty Free Ltd, and from issuing and enforcing any further proclamations whatsoever on its property in relation to the debt.

Suzan General Trading Jtl argued that the debts owed to KRA were by Diplomatic Duty Free Ltd – which had ceased to exist.

The firm contested the proclamation notice and argued that the same was unreasonable and that the goods that were proclaimed belonged to it and not Diplomatic Duty Free Ltd.

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KRAKamlesh PattniKenya Revenue AuthorityHigh CourtGoldenberg