Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) has reopened the troubled Keroche Breweries in Naivasha after the brewer moved to court seeking orders to compel the tax collector to lift the embargo on their operations
The management of Keroche Breweries Limited went back to seek court redress accusing KRA of contempt after the taxman defied an earlier directive to allow the brewer to resume operations.
Nairobi High Court Judge, Justice Alfred Mabeya gave the earlier orders on July 14 this year and were also upheld by Justice by Lady Justice Abigail Mshila on Thursday, July 28th.
Speaking to the press at the factory on Friday, KRA Deputy Commissioner in Charge of reinforcement Mr Mutembei Nyagah said KRA had decided to comply with the court to reopen the factory in order to avoid being cited for contempt of court.
KRA has however filed an appeal against the order to reopen Keroche and the case will be heard on August 2, 2022.
KRA team then removed seals they had put on the various sections of the machines in the factory and opened stores which the taxman had also locked.
Keroche Breweries General Manager in charge of sales and distribution Mr. Nicholas Kechei said the reopening was a welcome relief and were now preparing to recall their 400 employees to resume work on Monday.
Kechei however said it will take them some time to recover their market niche and six months to recover fully if there are no more disruptions or closures.
Keroche breweries limited was shut down for the second time on June 14 this year by Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) after the two parties failed to agree on how to settle the outstanding tax arrears amounting to Ksh.322 million that had prompted the closure of the factory in December 2021.
The company had allegedly defaulted on this earlier agreement to gradually settle its outstanding tax arrears which the company has denied.
The agreement had been arrived at and signed on March 14, 2022, after week-long negotiations involving the alcoholic drinks manufacturer and KRA after which the beer plant was re-opened but on June 14, 2022, the taxman once again came knocking and closed the factory prompting the current court battles.
In the agreement Keroche Breweries was to pay Sh.957 million to the taxman over a period of 24 months starting January 2022.
Keroche Breweries Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Mrs. Tabitha Karanja had earlier said the company woes with the tax man was due to low business as a result of the Covid – 19 pandemic and the immediate aftershocks which led to poor cash flows that limited its financial performance and hence its failure to clear the dues and added that the beer company was ready and willing to pay the arrays if granted ample time to do business.
By Mabel Keya –Shikuku