More than 400 workers at the Naivasha-based Keroche Breweries have breathed a sigh of relief after a court ordered the reopening of the company pending the hearing and determination of a case filed by the brewer.
The employees were staring at possible job losses following the closure of the company due to a tax row with the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA).
The Keroche management was forced to temporarily send the workers home pending the court case.
Following the new court directive, hundreds of workers celebrated, with the company’s chief executive officer Tabitha Karanja being equally relieved.
Incurred huge losses
She admitted that the company had incurred huge losses during the closure period but was optimistic of an economic turnaround in the coming days.
In a matter heard virtually, High Court Judge Alfred Mabeya of the Milimani Commercial Division directed KRA, its officers, associates and agencies to "unseal the packaging line and stores".
The court further directed the taxman to reactivate the exercisable goods management systems (EGMS) and allow the company to carry on with its business.
"The honourable court be pleased to, and hereby, issue orders restraining the respondent (KRA), its officers, associates, partners and those acting through it from closing, interfering with, disrupting the business of the applicant pending the hearing and determination of the application of the inter parties,” read the court order.
The court further ordered KRA to file and serve a replying affidavit within 14 days.
“That within 30-days thereafter, the parties do file and serve their respective submissions on a 15-day basis beginning with the applicant,” read the court order
The court ordered Keroche to, within seven days, pay KRA Sh8 million as first instalment of tax arrears and thereafter pay a similar amount on the 30th day after such payment until the hearing date.
The court further directed the brewer to continue meeting its tax obligation without fail.
The case will be mentioned on September 22, 2022,
The tax standoff pitting the liquor company and the taxman over accrued tax arrears of over a period of one year saw the company’s operations shut down, exposing over 400 workers and thousands of others in its distribution network to go without work.