BY HENRY MARETE – Director of Public Prosecution Noordin Haji has ordered the immediate arrest and arraignment of Keroche Breweries directors Tabitha Mukami Muigai and her husband Joseph Karanja Muigai to face prosecution over a suspected tax evasion bill amounting to a staggering Ksh. 14.5B.
In a statement sent to newsrooms, Wednesday afternoon, Haji said his office was satisfied there was enough evidence to charge the two, alongside their company as a legal entity, with tax evasion following investigations conducted by the Kenya Revenue Authority between January 2015 and June 2019.
“The Audit by the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) established that Keroche Breweries Limited had evaded the payment of tax totaling Fourteen billion, four hundred and fifty one million, eight hundred and thirty six thousand, three hundred and seventy five Kenya Shillings (14,451,836,375),” the statement read.
The DPP recommends that the company and its directors be charged with 10 counts of tax fraud contrary to section 97(a) and (c) of the Tax Procedures Act of 2015.
The KRA file was submitted on August 18 by the Commissioner-General James Mburu upon the completion of an investigation on the Naivasha-based brewery that concluded that the couple evaded paying more than 14 billion shillings in Value Added Tax (VAT) and Excise Duty.
Keroche Breweries has had a long-running dispute with the taxman. However its directors have in the past complained that their business was being harassed on the instigation of a competitor working in cahoots with KRA and Government officials.
The arrest order comes hot on the heels of this week’s arraignment of top officials of Africa Spirits and Wines Limited and Wow Beverages Limited on accusations of evading payment of Ksh.41 billion in taxes.
Those already charged include tycoon Humphrey Kariuki, who admits having shares in the companies but denies playing any role in their day-to-day management.
Faced with declining tax revenues and amid a growing national Government budget deficit, the Kenya Revenue Authority has recently intensified its crackdown on suspected tax evaders.