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KRA Vows To Keep Keroche Shut Down, Employees Implore Uhuru's Intervention

Fridah Wangechi | 7 months ago
KRA Commissioner General James Githii Mburu and Keroche CEO Tabitha Karanja. COURTESY
KRA Commissioner General James Githii Mburu and Keroche CEO Tabitha Karanja. COURTESY

Operations at the Keroche Breweries Ltd in Naivasha will remain shut down as the Kenya Revenue Authority(KRA) has claimed that the company has continued to disregard the agreement to service the Kshs 22 billion tax arrears that it owes the taxman.

KRA Commissioner General Githii Mburu claimed that Keroche has breached terms of tax arrears payments, even after penning an agreement to remit the taxes in installments for a period of 24 months that was signed in March that allowed for its reopening.

Mburu also revealed that the Tabitha Karanja-led company was in full knowledge of the repercussions of breach of contract that allowed KRA to take action in the event that the company failed to pay the taxes.

“We also agreed they will remain up to date on current taxes so that when they sell, they will be remitting the dues. When they paid the initial payment and we reopened their facility, we waited for them to honour the payments but that did not happen,” said Mr Mburu while speaking in an interview with the Business Daily.

“The taxpayer did not honour the payment plan agreed upon for the third time…to allow a tax-evading business to continue operating despite it dishonouring all payment plans is to promote a culture of impunity, promote unfairness and allow a few to use public funds to enrich themselves," he added.

The Authority still upholds the agency notices sent out to several banks against lending the brewer, fully paralysing the operations of the company.

This comes as a blow to the brewer which was closed after it failed to pay Kshs 300 million in tax arrears plunging it into losses which could lead to mass layoffs.

The company's workers have petitioned President Uhuru Kenyatta to intervene over the ongoing tax row as it is reported that they have not received salaries for four months due to the protracted dispute that has seen the brewery shut down numerous times.

The 400 employees who have nothing to fall back on after the sack have asked that the president take into consideration their plight as they are not directly involved in the spat between the two institutions.

"We are kindly pleading with the President and the Ministry of Labour to intervene as tens of families are undergoing untold suffering,” chairman of the workers’ welfare, John Odhiambo said.

“We can no longer feed our families following the row which doesn’t involve us and this has psychologically affected many workers,” he added, calling for the settlement of the dispute through amicable terms.

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