On June 14, Kenya Revenue Authority(KRA) closed down, Keroche Breweries owned by Nakuru Senatorial candidate on UDA ticket Tabitha Karanja over tax evasion claims.
The move by KRA to close down the Naivasha-based factory attracted a lot of contamination from the Kenya Kwanza alliance brigade.
Deputy President William Ruto accused the government of being to kill business entities associated with his political allies.
Speaking in Thika On Friday, June 17, 2022, presidential frontrunner Raila Odinga blasted KRA for closing down Keroche over tax arrears saying the move will render many people jobless.
“Let Keroche go. Don’t ‘kill’ Keroche, Mwambie kama hawezi kulipa leo, lipa kesho. Yeye ni Mkenya, atatoroka kwenda wapi? Saidia yeye aweze kulipa.(Tell her if she cannot pay tax today, she should pay tomorrow. She is a Kenyan, she cannot run away, help her)” Raila said.
“Don’t kill the goose that lays the golden egg. If you close a business, you are ‘killing’ the investor and the employees,” He added.
The former prime minister called for radical reforms in taxation by lowering taxes to motivate many businesses to pay taxes.
“It is not right to become punitive on tax if the taxes are too high there is a tendency to evade them but if they are law and manageable people will pay,” Raila said.
“The private sector is the engine of economic growth worldwide and the government needs to create an enabling environment for the sector to thrive and create wealth. You do so by removing punitive laws and bureaucratic red tape” The ODM leader stated.
Speaking in Kisii County yesterday Kenya Kwanza alliance presidential flag bearer alleged that Keroche was closed because its CEO Tabitha Karanja declined to join the Azimio coalition.
“Even today they have shut down Keroche breweries. A place where we have almost four hundred workers. The only mistake the Keroche lady did is refusing to join Azimio” DP Ruto said.
Keroche Breweries has had a long-standing tax dispute with the taxman that has led it’s closed six times in one year.
This time round KRA is accusing the Naivasha-based factory of defaulting on an earlier agreed plan to repay tax arrears amounting to Sh300 million.