The court has issued a warrant of arrest for Nakuru Senator Tabitha Karanja, CEO of Keroche Breweries Limited after she failed to appear for the hearing of a Sh14 billion tax evasion case.
The prosecution sought to amend the charge sheet in the ongoing case, leading to heated debates in the courtroom, with Keroche’s legal team ending up expressing their desire to resolve the matter outside court.
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A KRA officer, Irene Muthee, clarified to the court that no agreement had been made in reference to an out-of-court settlement, citing requirements under the Tax Procedure Act.
However, the court gave the brewer a 45-day ultimatum to initiate the alternative dispute resolution process with KRA, failure to which the case would proceed to a full trial.
Milimani Senior Principal Magistrate Esther Kimilu expressed her dissatisfaction with the defence’s apparent lack of readiness, warning that no further delays or adjournments would be granted.
“It’s evident that the defence was not ready. I give them 45 days to initiate the ADR process failure to which no further delay or adjournment will be granted. The court has always been ready,” Milimani Senior Principal Magistrate Esther Kimilu said.
In February this year, Ms Karanja took to Twitter, to explain why the Sh14.1 billion tax dispute that mainly focused on one of their brands, “The Viena Ice Ready”, a ready-to-drink vodka.
Drawing a comparison to a bartender mixing vodka and water in a bar, Karanja highlighted the brewer’s utilization of advanced technology for precise and moderate drinking experiences.
“The alleged tax arrears stemmed from the production process, which involved diluting the 40 percent Crescent Vodka with naturally distilled water from their source, resulting in a 15 per cent mixture,” she said.