Keroche’s Tabitha Karanja ordered to appear in court over Sh14 billion tax fraud

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The row between alcoholics drinks manufacturer Keroche and the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) is still far from over despite the company’s Managing Director Tabitha Karanja finding her way into the government.

She has been asked to appear in court over a pending suit in connection with alleged tax fraud today Monday,6. The Nakuru senator has in a detailed statement on Twitter given details surrounding the tax controversy that saw the leading alcoholic drinks manufacturer close down about six times last year.

“We have received a letter from the Director of Public Prosecutions through our lawyer, that the chairman and the chief executive officer of Keroche Breweries are required to appear in court on February 6, for the mention of a pending case over tax. This is very sad since the alleged tax fraud is not true,” she said.

Karanja claims that the alleged tax arrears arose from the manufacture of one of its brands -The Viena Ice Ready to drink vodka.

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“Our Viena Ready to Drink Vodka is produced by diluting the 40 percent Crescent Vodka, with our naturally distilled water from our source to make it 15 percent. This is similar to the way a customer can walk to a bar, purchase six tots of vodka equal to 188 ml of vodka and the bartender fetches a 312ml of water from his tap and mixes the two to make 500ml Ready to Drink Vodka. But unlike the barman, Keroche Breweries would use its 312ml naturally distilled water from our brewery source and use its 21st-century technology to mix uniformly to precision for moderate drinking,” Karanja explained.

“Now the alleged tax arises from KRA computations subjecting the 101 million litres of our water used to dilute the 60 million litres of Vodka at a rate of Sh 120 per litre amounting to Sh 12.1 billion and the resultant Sh 1.9 billion VAT. This amounts to Sh 14billion, the alleged tax fraud,” she further explained.

According to her, KRA had last year indicated that it was ready to withdraw the case and resolve the row with Keroche Breweries outside the court. She is now questioning KRA’s motive in following up the case.

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