Tuesday September 17, 2019
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KRA Defends Actions against Keroche Breweries, Denies Unfairly Targeting Local Investors

Haji also ordered Joseph’s arrest

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Keroche-fest
Tabitha and Joseph Karanja who jointly own Keroche Breweries when they launched a new beer in July 2019.

The Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) has defended its actions against tax evaders after the management of Keroche Breweries Limited read mischief in an arrest order issued Wednesday by the Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji.

KRA said in a statement on Thursday that the fight against tax evasion is not targeting any business staff or individual.

The authority stated that it has the responsibility of facilitating trade in a conducive environment and urged all eligible taxpayers to pay their dues.

It pointed out that it will pursue only those who have deliberately chosen to evade their tax payment so that they are brought to book.

“Kenyans should reject the narrative that KRA is fighting any individual or business. On the contrary, KRA has the additional responsibility of trade facilitation under which we support a business environment that is conducive for the growth of business,” the statement said.It pointed out that it will pursue only those who have deliberately chosen to evade their tax payment so that they are brought to book.

The Authority revealed that mechanisms have also been put in place to identify members of staff who aid in tax evasion and that those found culpable will be dealt with decisively.

Keroche-breweries-founder-and-CEO-Tabitha-Karanja
Keroche breweries founder and C.E.O Tabitha Karanja

“Majority of KRA staff are honest and committed to supporting Kenyans in paying their taxes. We are committed to weeding from our midst those of our staff who abuse the privilege Kenyans have bestowed on us by engaging in corrupt conduct.”

The statement came even as Keroche Breweries Managing Director Tabitha Karanja slammed Haji for ordering her arrest over a Sh14.5 billion tax fraud investigation.

In a statement sent to newsrooms Wednesday , Karanja described the tax fraud claims as baseless and without facts.

She further stated that she has not received any communication from the office of the DPP nor has any investigating officer questioned her over the alleged fraud.

“I have never seen any investigating officer in our brewery at any given time in Keroche’s lifetime. It is such a gross violation, harassment and intimidation by such a high office in our beloved country,” she stated.

She pointed out that the way the matter has been handled was humiliating, embarrassing and that she has been treated without respect.

“We are deeply shocked beyond imagination by both the allegations made and the manner in which the matter has been handled from the dissemination of the information.”

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On Wednesday, Haji ordered the arrest of Tabitha who co-owns the company with her husband Joseph Karanja over tax fraud.

Haji also ordered Joseph’s arrest. Haji stated that he perused an investigation file submitted by KRA on Sunday, which recommended the prosecution of Tabitha and her husband for evading taxes totaling Sh14.5 billion between January 2015 and June 2019.

Next Story

Kenya Third African Country to Roll Out World’s First Malaria Vaccine

Young children in eight western Kenyan counties will receive the RTS, S malaria vaccine, developed by British pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline

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Kenya, African, Country
A health worker vaccinates a child against malaria, in Ndhiwa, Homabay County, western Kenya, Sept. 13, 2019, during the launch of a malaria vaccination campaign in the country. VOA

Kenya has become the third African country to roll out the world’s first malaria vaccine. Young children in eight western Kenyan counties will receive the RTS, S malaria vaccine, developed by British pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline.

Africa continues to bear the greatest brunt of malaria globally and the introduction of the vaccine in parts of Africa is seen as a possible game changer in the fight against the killer disease.

Mothers and children lined up at a health center in Ndhiwa, Homa Bay County, on Friday to receive their first injection of the RTS,S malaria vaccine.

The vaccine will be administered in four doses to children between six months and two years old.

Kenya, African, Country
A clinic handbook is given to new mothers free of charge upon delivery at health facilities all over the country. The book contains vaccination schedules and information materials. (R. Ombuor/VOA) VOA

The program is being facilitated by Kenya’s Ministry of Health in collaboration with the World Health Organization, the global nonprofit PATH and other partners.

Scott Gordon, director for the malaria vaccine implementation program at PATH, was present at the launch and spoke to VOA by phone.

“Given the malaria burden here in Kenya where it’s one of the leading causes of childhood killers as well as the burden in the other countries, today’s launch is a tremendous step.  It means we have a tool that can be used in selected areas in Kenya to combat malaria and ensure that children are able to benefit from the broader portfolio of tools for malaria,” Gordon said.

Malawi, Ghana and Kenya are participating in the malaria vaccine implementation program coordinated by the WHO.

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At least 360,000 children are expected to receive the vaccine each year in the three countries.

The Homa Bay County minister for health, Richard Otieno Muga, says the vaccine will be one more tool for fighting malaria.

“Introduction of vaccines is one of the interventions but already we have insecticide treated nets, we also have indoor residual spraying in which we carry out to be able to fight Malaria which is a major killer for most of our children,” Muga said.

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Kenya has become the third African country to roll out the world’s first malaria vaccine. Pixabay

The WHO says Africa accounts for 90 percent of malaria cases and deaths globally.

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The program will run through 2022, with scientists studying the rollout to gauge the effectiveness of the vaccine. (VOA)