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Tabitha Karanja’s 25-Year Reign as CEO of Keroche Breweries Ends




Keroche request for 18 month grace period to clear tax arrears

Tabitha Karanja, the Nakuru Senator and long-serving CEO of Keroche Breweries Ltd, has announced her resignation after leading the company for 25 years. During the company’s 25th-anniversary celebrations on June 13, Mrs. Karanja expressed her pride in passing the baton to a new generation of business leaders. She stated, “After 25 years at the helm, it is time for me, Tabitha Karanja, to step down as the CEO of Keroche Breweries and entrust the leadership to a deserving successor.”

Mrs. Karanja’s departure comes at a challenging time for the company, as it faces a liquidation suit and a protracted tax dispute with the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA). The tax dispute originated in 2006 when Keroche filed a judicial review application contesting the KRA’s classification of its fortified wine products, resulting in a tax assessment of Ksh1.1 billion. This assessment included significant amounts attributed to income tax, excise duty, withholding tax, and Value Added Tax.

Keroche has been engaged in legal battles against the tax demands, and on March 16, 2022, the brewer reached an agreement with the KRA on a payment plan. The agreement aimed to settle Sh957 million in undisputed tax arrears and led to the lifting of agency notices that had frozen the brewer’s bank accounts.

Keroche Breweries CEO Tabitha Karanja showing off her brands

In her resignation, Mrs. Karanja criticized the KRA’s enforcement actions and shared her perspective on the discussion surrounding the alcoholic beverages industry. She emphasized the industry’s economic significance and highlighted anticipated tax revenues exceeding Sh250 billion from the alcohol sector in the current year. Mrs. Karanja called for a balanced and progressive approach to industry regulation without undermining its existence.

With Mrs. Karanja stepping down, the new CEO will inherit the company’s challenges, including an insolvency petition related to a Sh233.7 million debt owed to a Nairobi law firm, Hamilton, Harrison & Mathews. Mrs. Karanja’s decision to resign will allow her to fully dedicate herself to her role as the Senator of Nakuru County and as the Deputy Leader of the Majority in the Senate, representing the nation with humility and gratitude for the trust placed in her by President Dr. William Ruto and the esteemed Leadership of the Kenya Kwanza Coalition.

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