, NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 24 – The Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) has arrested four people connected to a tax-evasion syndicate.
According to the tax agency’s Senior Assistant Commissioner Edward Karanja, the four were arrested on Sunday morning after KRA received intelligence on a suspected ethanol consignment which had been concealed as packaging material.
“We received at tipoff that some ethanol was being brought in as raw material for making packaging material. We followed the containers all the way from the Inland Container Depot in Nairobi,” Karanja said.
The head of the investigative arm of the tax agency projected that a Ruiru-based brewer Platinum Distillers Limited (PDL) where the consignment was destined to may have avoided paying at least Sh 14 million in taxes.
“The product was imported from a company based in India which deals with ethanol. If our investigation prove that the consignments was indeed ethanol then it will be clear that KRA stood to lose Sh 14 million in taxes as they had paid around Sh 383,962,” he said.
Karanja said the distiller will remain shut for a period of at least a week pending the conclusion of investigations which include testing of samples of the consignment nabbed on Sunday to establish whether or not it is ethanol.
The KRA manager said he had contacted PDL directors for questioning but they were yet to show up by 2 pm on Sunday.
PDL is not new to controversy. In 2015, the company was involved in a legal battle with a British multinational – Diageo North American – the court ultimately approving an out-of-court settlement.
The British brewer which sells Smirnoff Ice had accuse PDL of infringing on its trademark by adopting a packaging design similar to one used on one of the products they distributed in the local market.