Keroche Breweries is set to lay off over 400 employees as tax woes with the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) deepen.
Last week, Keroche CEO Tabitha Karanja decried that the company had been shut down after defaulting on the target set by KRA.
In a series of tweets, Karanja now says close to 400 people will be rendered jobless should the company shut down.
She is thus calling on all stakeholders to come together and avert the situation while ideally calling on the government to implement its policies favorably, more so to the local investors.
“I was thinking aloud on Sunday afternoon and pondering how I will relay the painful message to our employees on Monday that we will be laying them off as a result of KRA’s closure. I was also at pains as I looked at all the beer in the tanks that we shall be forced to drain to waste and wondered why and how the following relevant ministries remain so indifferent to the dire consequences of the current closure of the company’s factory,” she wrote.
She further asked for an audience with the KRA commissioner General in a bid to articulate the issues affecting the company as well as forge a way forward.
Finally we would be happy to have audience with the Commissioner General of KRA @CG_KRA in order to once again articulate our predicaments as we seek for the moratorium.
— Tabitha Karanja (@TabithaKaranja) June 20, 2022
Earlier in March, KRA refuted claims by Keroche Breweries that the taxman had crippled the company in the guise of collecting taxes.
This was after Karanja accused the taxman of frustrating local entrepreneurs. She disclosed that KRA had shut down its plant in Naivasha over Sh322 million in tax arrears, threatening the livelihood of more than 250 direct employees.
But in a statement, KRA denied the claims accusing the businesswoman of unfair competition and dishonesty.
Contrary to Karanja’s claims that the taxman had frustrated negotiation talks with the Keroche leadership, KRA said the company is unwilling to repay the owed millions despite several commitments.
In a detailed statement, KRA said the company is to blame for the current row, arguing that the firm has not been remitting withheld taxes to the government as required by law.
KRA indicated that the taxpayer may be using taxes collected to fund the company’s operations or for other private purposes.
The CEO and her husband Joseph Karanja have for years been embroiled in a tax dispute with KRA.
The Keroche Breweries founders were arrested in August 2019 over Sh14 billion tax evasion claims before they were later freed on bail amid concerns from members of the public.
The company was accused of evading payment of Sh12.34 billion VAT for stamps (Sh329.4 million), Crescent Vodka (Sh135.4 million) among other products.