Court orders reopening of Mount Kenya Breweries Ltd
The State has suffered a major blow after the High court had ordered the re-opening of Nanyuki liquor firm Mount Kenya breweries limited.
In his ruling, Justice Weldon Korir ordered reopening of the liquor firms and condemned Kenya Revenue Authority for killing businesses in the country in the guise of collecting taxes.
"Pending the hearing and determination of the petition, the respondent( KRA) is ordered to reinstate the Applicant's( Mount Kenya breweries limited) excise licence and to facilitate the resumption of normal business operations at the applicant's factory by resuming the issuance of excise stamps for production and unsealing the manufacturing premises," Justice korir ordered.
The Judge issued a conservatory order restraining KRA from continue continuing to lock, seal the outer doors or in any way deny or limit the access to the brewer's manufacturing premises.
Korir further directed the commission to release Motor Vehicle registration number KCC 433H seized at the firm's manufacturing premises.
The orders were issued after the local brewery at the center of tax evasion investigations petitioned the High court seeking orders compelling KRA to move their officers from the premises and issue them with operating licence pending the hearing of their case.
KRA closed the brewery in Nanyuki following raids on April 9 and 10 over allegations of using false excise stamps on its liquor brands and failing to file tax returns.
The commission of tax accused Mount Kenya Breweries directors and the President have defied orders to turn themselves in to their offices and shed light on the investigations.
According to court papers filed in court, the brewer informed the court that a consequence of the KRA’s actions to close the factory, its shareholders and hundreds of staff members had lost their source of livelihood without reasonable justification.
"Mount Kenya Breweries directors had lost significant business income and is now unable to fulfill its vast financial obligations totaling over Sh 350 million to its financiers and creditors including ICDC, Unitas Society Sacco Ltd and is also unable to meet other recurrent expenditure," reads the petition.
The firm further submitted that its directors are likely to be adversely listed by credit reference bureaus which would result in dire consequences individually and collectively for the shareholders, directors and other stakeholders
"After the unlawful and unprocedural actions taken against it, the Respondent(KRA) had called upon it to discuss new tax assessments totaling to a colossal sum of money and had threatened to prefer charges against its directors and other officers unless specific figures were agreed upon pertaining to its tax obligations to the Respondent," argued the liquor firm.
But KRA informed the court that the company was shut down after it was identified as one of the manufacturers that had not installed mass transfer flow meters.
Mount Kenya Breweries makes Sparkler Vodka, Blue Ice Vodka, and Bubblez Vodka, all packed in 250ml and sold at Sh100.