KRA shuts down Keroche again over tax dispute

Keroche Chief Executive Tabitha Karanja. [Kipsang Joseph, Standard]

The woes bedevilling Keroche Breweries Ltd have deepened after the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) shut down its Naivasha-based factory, again.

The taxman is accusing the company of defaulting on an earlier agreed plan to repay tax arrears amounting to Sh300 million.

The authority has gone ahead to issue agency notices to several banks against lending the brewer - fully paralysing its operations. 

Keroche accused KRA of political witch-hunt, noting that they signed the agreement through duress and that the harsh economic times had affected their operations.

The company’s Chief Executive Tabitha Karanja said over 400 workers faced the sack while beer worth over Sh350 million could go to waste. “KRA’s draconian measures against Keroche Breweries constitute a hostile exception to well-established government policies of investment promotion, job creation and support for value addition,” she said. Ms Karanja added that KRA behaved in a manner that was oblivious of the need for business resilience to overcome a combination of challenges.

She attributed her woes to the move to join the William Ruto-led UDA party, adding that this would not deter her from vying for the Nakuru senatorial seat.

“KRA is under tremendous pressure to place Keroche Breweries under existential jeopardy in order to retaliate against me for my interest in offering political leadership in Nakuru,” she said.

Ms Karanja appealed to KRA to give the brewer a moratorium on the enforcement action that shut down their operations and a review of the payment plan.

 “I plead with the KRA to afford us an opportunity to regain our footing as a manufacturer, employer and a local entity to sustainably meet all our obligations,” she said.

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