Keroche Breweries Limited Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Tabitha Karanja now claims she is just an employee of the company, and not the owner, contrary to popular belief.
Karanja, in a replying affidavit to a petition filed by Daniel Mahiri Gichaga, says she is employed at the alcohol manufacturer as a director and CEO, intimating that she des not actually own any shares.
Gichaga sought the United Democratic Alliance (UDA) party ticket to contest for the Nakuru Senate race but garnered 12,240 votes, coming second to Karanja who was declared winner with 98,439 votes.
In his petition, Gichaga claims Karanja owns 95% of Keroche and hence seeks to have her declared unfit to run for office owing to the company’s numerous run-ins with the law, specifically the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA), over alleged tax arrears.
He cites the brewer’s alleged admission of tax liability amounting to Ksh.957 million and subsequent payment agreement with the KRA; terming it a crime.
“The Petitioner avers that the clearance of the first Respondent as a candidate violates the requirement of having people with integrity on the ballot. That further, a candidate utilizing unremitted taxes running in the billions to fund her campaigns does not create a free and fair environment for voters and other candidates running for the same position.
That further, there is a danger of exposing tax-paying voters to bribery and related offences,” read court papers.
“That by allowing the 1st Respondent (Karanja) to run for office, the UDA and IEBC are promoting impunity and a serious affront on the rule of law, democracy and the will of the people.
Only a suspect who has not been found guilty or admitted to be guilty and exhausted all forms of appeal can attempt to defend this petition. In this case, Karanja is not a subject. Instead, she is a fully admitted tax evader with no pending appeal.”
Gichaga argues that, in the event that Karanja is allowed to run for Nakuru Senator and actually wins elections, she would allegedly then use her leadership status to flout tax laws and shield herself from prosecution.
He now wants her declared unfit to hold public office for non-compliance with the Constitution, further praying that the IEBC is barred from clearing her to run for any elective position.
However, Karanja, in mitigation, has termed Gichaga as nothing but a sore loser who is motivated by a selfish agenda to eliminate competition, and note ethics or ideals as he claims in his petition.
“I am employed by Keroche breweries Limited as a director and the Chief Executive Officer of the company but I am not the owner of the company as alleged by the petitioner,” she states.
“The company has been recognised in many forums as a leading business in the country and I am proudly associated.”
She however admits to Keroche’s troubles with KRA, which she says are pending settlement in court as well as through Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) mechanisms.
Karanja dismisses any admission of tax liability as alleged by Gichaga, stating instead that there are ongoing negotiations with KRA on the matter.
She further dismisses any co-relation between the company’s tax issues and her person, as a private citizen, saying she has not been convicted in any court for criminal conduct or any conduct unbecoming of a leader.
The date for hearing of the case was set for June 29, 2022.
By Citizen TV