Keroche Breweries CEO Tabitha Karanja is facing another hurdle in her quest to become the third senator of Nakuru County, after a resident filed a suit seeking to block her from contesting in the August 9 General Election over integrity issues.
Daniel Mahiri has asked the Nakuru High Court to declare Ms Karanja, the United Democratic Alliance (UDA) party nominee, unfit to hold public office following her tussle with the Kenya Revenue Authority over unpaid taxes.
Mr Mahiri, a UDA member, claims Ms Karanja is a notorious tax evader with pending cases in court and has a history of defaulting on tax payment agreements with the KRA.
He states that Ms Karanja has defaulted on tax payment deals with the KRA three terms, which he says raises doubts about her willingness to clear the debt.
Mr Mahiri also told the court that Ms Karanja has an ongoing criminal case where she is charged alongside her husband with tax evasion after failing to remit Sh14 billion in owed taxes.
These cases, Mr Mahiri argues, show that Ms Karanja has violated the provisions of Chapter Six of the Constitution.
“Tax evasion is a crime like any other and when an individual opts to accept the offence, it does not take away the crime. Whereas the respondent agreed to own up to some unremitted taxes after she was prosecuted it does not take away the fact that she is guilty of the crime,” he states.
Mr Mahiri has sued Ms Karanja, UDA, the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission, the KRA, the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission and the office of the Ombudsman.
He wants Ms Karanja declared non-compliant with chapters six and eight of the Constitution and thus is unfit to hold public office and that of the member of Parliament.
He also wants orders barring Ms Karanja from contesting in the August 9 elections, either as a UDA candidate or as an independent.
The case will be heard on Tuesday before Justice Joel Ngugi.