Keroche heiress, Anerlisa Muigai, on Wednesday, August 22, penned a letter to President Uhuru Kenyatta requesting him to protect businesses in Kenya.
In the letter posted on her social media page, Anerlisa who is also the CEO of Nero Company limited stated that the president should intervene and help local entrepreneurs.
“Dear Our President (Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta)
"I am writing in regards to our local entrepreneurs. I am humbly requesting you to intervene and help/protect us all in businesses. We chose you as our President.
"Every day our local entrepreneurs are being fought. We trust and believe that you will do something about it. Thank You. #BuyKenya #BuildKenya,” she wrote
Anerlisa’s letter comes hours after her parents; Tabitha Karanja and husband Joseph Karanja were arrested at their Naivasha-based factory.
The two who looked calm and collected during the arrest were whisked away to the DCI headquarters along Kiambu Road following an order from the Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji.
Haji accused the couple of tax evasion amounting to more than Sh14 billion that occurred between January 2015 and June 2019.
The DPP, who wants the two entrepreneurs charged with ten counts of tax fraud, came to his conclusion after reviewing an audit by KRA that allegedly showed Keroche Breweries had failed to pay Excise Duty and Value Added Tax (VAT) on some of its products.
“Having independently reviewed the file and applying the provisions of the National Prosecution Policy, I am satisfied that there is sufficient evidence and that it is in the public interest to charge the suspects listed herein with 10 counts of Tax Fraud, contrary to section 97 (a) and (c) of the Tax Procedures Act, 2015,” said Noordin Haji.
Keroche owner response
Responding to the allegations, Keroche Breweries CEO Tabitha Karanja through a phone-in interview with KTN said she was under probe.
According to Tabitha, the only case she has with KRA is on the tax rates they are required to put on one of their products and have gone through the correct channels to have it sorted.
“The only case that I have and which is lying at the tribunal is on the dispute between us and the KRA is on the rate we need to apply on the Vienna Ice Vodka.
"We’ve been doing it since its innovation in 2007 July up to date which is about 2 years. We’ve paid taxes that we believe should be paid which is on 180ml vodka but not the water which is 320ml.
"So whatever they’ve sent to us, even our finance people, everybody doesn’t know where that information they got it from,” Tabitha said.
Protest against entrepreneur’s harassment
Protesting the manner in which the DCI handled their situation, Tabitha who was locked in her office during the phone call, said police officers had camped outside her office and house.
According to her, no entrepreneur deserved to be treated the way they were being treated.
“You can imagine, I have complied, I have worked and complied, all these years and then you just get a WhatsApp even no formal communication to be told that, we need to come there and do investigations on that, there’s none.
"We are even worried that the local entrepreneurs can be going through this. If you look outside my house there are many cars, many police, and in my office. I want to demand, why the…such a…I don’t know.
"How can they treat a local entrepreneur the way now I’m being treated does this mean that when you build an enterprise that is competing with the multinational that one day you must close it."