Tabitha Karanja, the proprietor of Keroche Breweries LTD, now says she is not the substantive owner of the company, but rather an employee.
Karanja, in court documents, stated she is employed by Keroche Breweries LTD as its Director and Chief Executive Officer (CEO). She was responding to a petition by Nakuru politician, Daniel Mahiri, who was her challenger in the United Democratic Alliance (UDA) nominations.
Mahiri had moved to court seeking to bar the brewer from contesting in the August polls, claiming that she is not suitable to hold a public office owing to her prolonged court cases with the taxman.Keroche Breweries owners Tabitha Karanja and husband Joseph Karanja when they launched a new beer in July 2019.
“I am employed by Keroche Breweries Limited as a Director and CEO but I am not the owner of the company as alleged by the petitioner,” Karanja stated in her affidavit.
Mahiri moved to court after losing in the nominations, arguing that Karanja would transfer her 'unwillingness to follow the law' to the Senate.
Mahiri was a senatorial seat aspirant but lost to Karanja in the primaries.
He stated that Karanja is a tax evader with pending cases in court and she has a history of defaulting on tax payment agreements signed between her and the taxman.
The petitioner argued that the evasion of tax raises doubts about her readiness to clear the debt.
He also cited an alleged Ksh14 billion tax evasion case that Karanja and her husband are facing in court, arguing that she has failed the integrity test.
According to Mahiri, Karanja has violated the provisions of Chapter Six of the Constitution and the law is clear on such issues, asking the court to block her candidature.
“Tax evasion is a crime like any other and when an individual opts to accept the offence, it does not take away the crime. Whereas the respondent agreed to own up to some unremitted taxes after she was prosecuted it does not take away the fact that she is guilty of the crime,” he stated.Keroche Breweries CEO Tabitha Karanja speaking during a past press briefing
In her response, Karanja admitted that Keroche Breweries LTD has pending tax disputes with the taxman, arguing that it is the case with many other businesses and other taxpayers in the country.
“In any event, I do not understand what the tax relations of Keroche Breweries Limited have to do with me as a private person distinct from the company,” Karanja stated through her lawyers, Kabugu and Company Advocates.tax evasion
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