Choppies Supermarket loses Sh173m dispute with taxman
DISPUTE: The High Court has dismissed a case filed by Choppies Enterprises Ltd seeking to unfreeze their accounts pending resolution of an ongoing tax dispute.
Choppies Supermarket had filed an application under a Certificate of Urgency seeking orders to unfreeze their accounts pending completion of an ongoing tax dispute with Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA).
Mr Justice David Majanja, however, dismissed the application saying KRA was right to freeze Choppies bank accounts over Sh173.4 million to secure the taxes in dispute.
KRA’s move was informed by the fact that Choppies, a supermarket which took over Ukwala Supermarkets Limited, was winding up business in Kenya.
The court found that Choppies had already sold its branches, assets and stocks to Tusker Mattresses Supermarkets, Chandarana Supermarkets Limited, Quickmart Supermarkets Limited and Appmatt Limited without informing the authority in spite of the ongoing tax dispute.
It further held that KRA had provided undisputed evidence that Choppies had commenced disposing off its assets and winding up business in Kenya.
The judge faulted Choppies for not disclosing its financial position; they did not disclose how much was held in their accounts and what would be realised from the sale of their assets.
The court said because the supermarket retailer had already sold its assets, Choppies should provide security for taxes payable to KRA in view of the fact that they are closing shop in the country.
However, the court gave Choppies and KRA fourteen (14) days to explore an amicable settlement of the tax dispute