• Governor said that authorities must treat the owners with caution otherwise we shall be staring at major job loses.
• Over 500 Keroche employees risk job loses following DPP directive to arraign directors.
Nakuru Governor Lee Kinyanjui on Wednesday night came out to defend the Keroche Breweries owners over tax evasion claims.
The governor's sentiments came shortly after DPP Noordin Haji called for the immediate arraignment of directors Tabitha Karanja and her husband Joseph Muigai over the allegations.
The governor said the quest to enhance tax collection must be balanced with the need to protect businesses and save jobs.
"We must encourage a tax system that enhances compliance while appreciating the economic realities that businesses operate in," he said
Kinyanjui added that ignoring this business reality, will lead to 100 per cent compliance but leave half the industries closed.
The governor said he is 'greatly saddened' by the manner in which KRA is treating local investors and in particular how they have treated the Keroche Industries Ltd.
The county boss said the company is a major employer in Naivasha and the entire region.
"While there may be tax matters that require redress, it would be an act of utmost betrayal to Kenyans who have built their businesses over the years, to be reduced to fugitives," Kinyanjui added.
And while the governor seems to directly defend the directors of Keroche industries, he said he is also looking at the over 500 employees who are directly engaged by the company and thousands of others who are indirect beneficiaries stand to lose their jobs if the matter is not handled amicably.
He said that authorities must treat the owners of capital with caution otherwise we shall be staring at major job loses.
In a statement on Wednesday, Karanja said the company has not been involved in tax evasion and said it was inappropriate for the firm to be subjected to "humiliation and intimidation".
She went on to say the same treatment may probably not have been given to a multinational company and expressed disappointment that a home-grown brand was being treated "unfairly".
On Wednesday the DPP ordered that the directors of Keroche Breweries Ltd be arraigned over Sh14.45 billion tax evasion.
In a statement on Wednesday, DPP Noordin Haji said investigations revealed they were found culpable of 10 counts of tax fraud.