Keroche Breweries CEO Tabitha Karanja has denied being the owner of the company saying she is merely an employee.
Karanja said that while responding to an affidavit to a petition that was filed by one Daniel Mahiri Gichaga after Karanja trounced him during the UDA primaries in Nakuru.
Both Karanja and Gichaga were contesting for the UDA party ticked to vie for the Nakuru senatorial seat in the August election.
Karanja won the UDA senate ticket with 98,439 votes; Gichaga, got 12,240 and Andrew Yatich garnered 8,043 votes.
Gichaga in his petition said Karanja owns 95 per cent of the brewery and therefore was unfit to run for office since she has had several unpleasant encounters with the law, especially the taxman.
He noted Karanja’s admission to a Sh957 million tax liability was criminal.
“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,” the petition reads.
“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 wants Karanja to be declared unfit to run for public office because she is likely to use her leadership position to circumvent tax laws and protect herself from being prosecuted.
Karanja on the other hand acknowledged the troubles Keroche has encountered with the Kenya Revenue Authority over the years which are still pending in court but denied being the company’s owner.
“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,” Karanja said.
Karanja also dismissed the direct relation between her person and Keroche’s tax disputes, saying she is a private citizen who has never been convicted of any crime in any court.
She said Gichaga’s efforts were driven by a selfish agenda to edge out the competition and termed him a sore loser.