Africa Spirits seeks to re-open factory in Thika

Africa Spirits seeks to re-open factory in Thika
RICHARD MUNGUTI

By RICHARD MUNGUTI
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Alcohol manufacturer, Africa Spirits Limited (ASL), which is facing a Sh41bn tax evasion case alongside billionaire Humphrey Kariuki, has asked a Nairobi court to order taxman to re-open its Thika-based factory.

ASL says the closure of the company for the last six months has caused the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) to lose over Sh1.2bn in tax.

ASL’s lawyer Cecil Miller disclosed that the company and Wow Beverages Limited were remitting Sh150m monthly to KRA in tax.

The factory owners have been allowed to access the plant to remove all the old Sh1,000 notes to hand over to the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) by latest Saturday to beat the September 30,2019 deadline of mopping up the currencies.

CBK Governor Patrick Njoroge has said from October 1, 2019 the old notes will be extinct.

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“I urge this court to direct KRA and the police who took over the factory six months ago to re-open it since huge loses are being incurred affecting the economy greatly,” Mr Miller said.

He told chief magistrate Francis Andayi that the closure of the company was hurting many people.

Mr Kariuki , ASL , Wow , Stuart Gerald Herd, Peter Njenga Kuria, Robert Ithinji Muriithi, Geoffrey Kaaria Kinoti Mbobu, Simon Maundu, Eric Mulwa and Kepha Githu Gakure have denied failing to remit the alleged taxes between 2016 and 2018.

The lawyer argued that the fate of hundreds of employees hangs in the balance following the closure of the factory.

He said “since the prosecution had rushed to charge Mr Kariuki and his co-accused, it should be equally quick to prosecute the case.”

Mr Miller also raised concern over machinery at the factory, products stored there and the issue of a death that allegedly occurred on the premises.

“The DPP should be compelled to avail a postmortem report in court so that the cause of death of the victim can be explained since the owners of the factory have not had access for over six months,” Mr Miller said.

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