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.
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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.
“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.
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Kariuki is the founder of Janus Continental Group, a conglomerate that includes The Hub – a premier shopping mall in Nairobi, Africa Spirits, Dalbit Petroleum – one of the largest oil distributors in East and Southern Africa and Great Lakes Africa Energy – a U.K-based company that is a developer and operator of power projects in Southern Africa.
He is also the owner of the 5-star Fairmont Mount Kenya Safari Club, and the neighboring Mount Kenya Wildlife Conservancy and Animal Orphanage.
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