Alcohol manufacturers who had been shut down during former President Uhuru Kenyatta’s administration have reportedly resumed operations.
According to Nation, 26 alcohol factories will be reopened as the new government continues to bring back to life factories that were closed by the previous government.
Most of these factories were shut down by the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) over alleged nonpayment of taxes.
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They include Africa Spirits Ltd, Mount Kenya Breweries Ltd, Rift Valley Brewing Company and Wananchi Breweries Ltd.
Others are Vinepack Ltd, Big Five Breweries Ltd, Elle Kenya Ltd, Lumat Company Ltd and Tona Brewing Ltd.
This comes barely a week after Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua has hinted that tycoon Humphrey Kariuki’s company, African Distillers, will be back in business.
The company was closed during President Uhuru Kenyatta’s regime over alleged tax evasion and smuggling substandard ethanol products into the country.
However, speaking on Friday, October 28, DP Gachagua questioned the move to shut the factory despite paying taxes.
The DP said that before its closure, the company would pay KSh 50 million monthly in taxes, noting that the state has lost KSh 1.8 billion for the period that the alcohol manufacturer was out of business.
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“African Distillers factory owned by Humphrey Kariuki was closed & it was paying KSh 50M every month in terms of tax & for 3yrs we have lost KSh 1.8B, money that we need in this country
“That was a foolish decision and that will never happen in this administration,” the DP said during a meeting with the Kenya Association of Manufacturers.
In 2019, the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) launched a manhunt for Kariuki over an alleged KSh 41 billion tax evasion.
The DCI raided the company offices in Thika where they allegedly found smuggled ethanol, 312,000 liters of illicit liquor and 21 million fake Kenya Revenue Authority stamps.
The investigative body said the company has been smuggling ethanol of questionable quality which has been used to produce some of its alcohol brands.