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Tax dispute back in court after Keroche, taxman fail to agree

Keroche Breweries CEO Tabitha Karanja. [Kipsang Joseph, Standard]

The tax row between Keroche Breweries and Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) is headed back to court after the two parties failed to resolve the dispute.

The Naivasha-based firm is seeking the court's intervention after the tax collector stood its ground that it would not allow it back in the market until the pending taxes are paid.

The move comes a week after the brewer sent home close to 400 workers on unpaid leave as it seeks the way forward in the protracted battle.

Last month, the tax collector closed down the brewery after defaulting on an earlier agreed plan to repay tax arrears totaling Sh300m.

The authority went ahead to issue agency notices to several banks against lending the brewer, fully paralysing its operations.

CEO Tabitha Karanja confirmed the new development saying the courts were the only hope for the company and its workers.

She accused KRA of unfairly targeting the company, noting that since Covid-19 hit the country, the brewery had been closed six times.

“We feel that KRA is unfairly targeting us and playing politics with the issue and thus the reason to seek redress in the courts,” she said.

Karanja denied claims they had refused to pay taxes adding that all that they were seeking was a grace period to operate and pay the pending balances.

She said the company had requested a six months moratorium before commencing payments because of post-Covid-19 effects which had affected its finances.