KEROCHE IN COURT

Orengo quotes Bible as he seeks release of Keroche owners

The two were arrested in Naivasha on Thursday by DCI detectives

In Summary

• Tabitha was arrested alongside her husband Joseph Karanja over Sh14 billion tax evasion claims.

• Keroche is also accused of evading payment of excise duty amounting to Sh2.1 billion for the same items.

Keroche Breweries Directors Joseph Karanja with Tabitha Karanja before Chief Magistrate Francis Andayi to answer charges of Tax Evasion on August 23,2019.
Keroche Breweries Directors Joseph Karanja with Tabitha Karanja before Chief Magistrate Francis Andayi to answer charges of Tax Evasion on August 23,2019.
Image: ENOS TECHE

Siaya Senator James Orengo resorted to quoting the Bible as he sought the release of Keroche breweries director Tabitha Karanja and her husband Joseph Karanja.

The two were arraigned in court on Friday morning after the DPP approved charges of tax fraud against them.

Orengo quoted to the court Matthew 19:6 which says "what God has put together let no man put asunder" in reference to the arrest of his clients' arrest on Thursday.

 

The lawyer said that sin was committed when "Mr Karanja was separated from his Lady yesterday."

He added that the court should consider that the accused persons are one entity when it arrives in its decision to grant them bail.

"Its evidently clear that Mr Karanja cannot be put in custody going by his medical condition. We are a state governed by the bill of rights," Orengo said.

He was responding to Prosecutor Catherine Mwaniki's assertion that though they were not opposed to bail, the court should consider the Sh14 billion amount in question.

"There is a statutory process to determine any dispute in relation to tax assessment demand. There is a specific procedure governing tax issues, Orengo said.

He added that the accused are presumed to be innocent and that since there was no material placed before the court, the figure of Sh14 billion should not be a factor to take into consideration in granting bail.

Tabitha and her husband Joseph Karanja are represented by Orengo, Murang'a Senator Irungu Kang'ata and lawyers Kioko Kilukumi and Kiragu Kimani.

 

The prosecution is led by Catherine Mwaniki and Alexander Muteti.

Muteti told the court that the accused persons have been aware that the Kenya Revenue Authority required clarifications on the matter of taxes.

He noted that they were summoned to appear before KRA but still chose not to do what is required of them in the law after this engagement.

Muteti also quoted the Bible like Oresngo saying that people must "give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar"

The Prosecution also opposed Orengo's request that the accused persons deposit their passports saying that they chose to take cover rather than present themselves when DPP made the announcement.

"Offences of such nature are treated just like anti-corruption and economic crimes. The matter is weighty as KRA staff are also being investigated for aiding the Sh14 billion offence," Muteti says.

Orengo also questioned as to why the other two directors of the company had not been arrested.

"This prosecution is questionable," Orengo said adding that the KRA staff who allegedly aided the crime should also be in court.

"There is no way a tax dispute of this magnitude could have been concluded when she was summoned," Orengo said asking the court to grant his clients granted Sh500,000 bail.

The two directors of Keroche Breweries were arrested on Thursday by detectives in their Naivasha based headquarters.

They two were driven to the DCI headquarters on Kiambu Road.

Keroche Breweries is accused of evading payment of Sh12.34 billion VAT for stamps (Sh329.4 million), Crescent Vodka (Sh135.4 million) among other products.

Keroche is also accused of evading payment of excise duty amounting to Sh2.1 billion for the same items.