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Keroche Breweries couple Tabitha and Joseph face arrest over tax fraud

Tabitha and Joseph Karanja who jointly own Keroche Breweries when they launched a new beer in July 2019. Photo/COURTESY.

NAIROBI, Kenya Aug 21 – Keroche Breweries owners Joseph Karanja and his wife Tabitha are in fresh trouble after the Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji ordered their arrest over Sh14.5 billion tax fraud.

Haji Wednesday said he has perused an investigation file submitted by the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA), which recommended their prosecution for evaded taxes totaling Sh14.5 billion between January 2015 and June 2019.

The file was submitted on August 18 by the KRA Commissioner-General James Mburu at the completion of an investigation on the Naivasha-based brewery that has had numerous tax disputes with taxman.

A statement issued by the DPP Wednesday evening, indicated that the two were found culpable of 10 counts of tax fraud.

The couple evaded paying Value Added Tax (VAT) amounting to Sh12.3 billion for stamps allocated for Crescent Vodka, Vienna Ice-Qty Variance, Vienna Ice- Rate Variance and Summit beers.

They also evaded paying Excise Duty amounting to Sh2.1 billion.

DPP after perusing the file said there was enough evidence to prosecute the couple over tax fraud which is an offence contrary to tax procedures.

The charges on Keroche came a week after the arrest and prosecutions of top officials of Africa Spirits and Wines Limited and Wow Beverages Limited on accusations of evading Sh41 billion in taxes.

Those already charged include tycoon Humphrey Kariuki, who admits having shares in the companies but denies playing any role in their day-to-day management.

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A director of African Spirits Limited, an alcoholic beverage company owned by businessman Humphrey Kariuki, was Wednesday charged in the place of Africa Spirits and Wines Limited.

Others who have been charged with tax evasion include Robert Thinji, Kepha Githu Gakure and Peter Njenga.

Kariuki and his associates are accused of evading Sh 41 billion in taxes through Africa Spirits Limited, and Wow Beverages Limited.

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