Reprieve For Tabitha as Court Issues Fresh Orders in Keroche Closure Row

  • Keroche Breweries founder Tabitha Karanja (center) addressing the press.
    Keroche Breweries founder Tabitha Karanja (center) addressing the press.
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  • The High Court has ordered the reopening of Keroche Brewery's Naivasha plant amid an ongoing tax row.

    In court documents seen by Kenyans.co.ke, the High Court noted that the brewer should continue with operations and also clear tax arrears that had led to its closure.

    Keroche was ordered to pay Ksh8 million per month after the taxman and the brewer returned to court after failing to agree on a previous repayment plan that saw the Naivasha plant shut down last month.

    Keroche Breweries CEO Tabitha Karanja speaking during a past press briefing
    Keroche Breweries CEO Tabitha Karanja speaking during a past press briefing
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    The dispute will come up for hearing on September 22, 2022. 

    "An order be and is hereby issued that the Defendant/Respondent, taxman, its officers, agencies, associates to unseal the packaging line, the stores and to reactivate the Exercisable Goods Management System (EGMS) in the Applicant's Keroche Breweries processing plant in Naivasha and to generally allow the applicant to carry on business forthwith," the court stated.

    "Within 7 days of the applicant to pay the respondent Ksh8 million as the first instalment on the tax arrears. And thereafter to pay a similar sum on the 30th day after such payment until the next hearing date," the order continued.

    The court noted that the taxman had been restricted from closing, interfering with, or disrupting the Keroche business pending the hearing and determination of the suit on merit.

    The directives come barely a month after the brewer was shut down, with the Keroche Breweries founder, Tabitha Karanja, complaining that the move put the lives of over 400 workers at risk.

    Karanja argued that if the closure was not stopped, beer worth Ksh350 million could go to waste.

    "Thousands of innocent hard working Kenyans are undergoing the indignity and injustice of unemployment, poverty and hunger," Karanja stated.

    Karanja asked for a chance to rebuild the business and save the jobs of her staff before settling the tax arrears.

    Keroche Breweries owners Tabitha Karanja and husband Joseph Karanja
    Keroche Breweries owners Tabitha Karanja and husband Joseph Karanja when they launched a new beer in July 2019.
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    "I specifically request once more to be given a moratorium on the enforcement action that shut down our operations, and on the unsustainable payment plan that we agreed to under unbearable pressure.

    "I therefore also humbly request for further engagement to consider a way for the company to meet its due obligations without sacrificing it and the livelihoods of countless Kenyan households," she added.