Billionaire businessman Humphrey Kariuki’s Africa Spirits Ltd has denied owing Kenya Revenue Authority Ksh 6 billion in unpaid taxes.
The Thika-based company has protested the move by the taxman to shut down its premises on January 31 as it launched an investigation into the alleged tax dispute.
“We are shocked to hear of these allegations and we have contacted and are closely cooperating with the relevant authorities to ensure that we get to the bottom of this matter. We shall be communicating any developments as the investigation proceeds, and we shall be in touch with all our stakeholders to provide relevant updates,” the brewer said in a statement posted on its website.
“In the meantime, we are doing everything in our power to ensure that we can return to business as soon as possible. We reiterate our commitment to world-class standards and practice in our business with our KEBS certified high-quality products,” it added.
The tycoon’s troubles started after the discovery of smuggled ethanol, some 312,000 litres of illicit liquor and 21 million fake KRA stamps at the Thika-based African Spirits Ltd on January 31.
According to Daily Nation, the tax arrears were calculated based on the number of stamps that African Spirits Ltd officially picked up from KRA over the years but it has yet to remit the taxes from the products sold.
Kariuki was grilled by the Directorate of Criminal Investigations last week and returned to Mazingira House on Tuesday where he spent several hours being grilled by detectives.
DCI Director George Kinoti said the businessman was also required to explain why he did not declare his dual citizenship as required by the Kenya Citizenship and Immigration Act. He holds a Cypriot passport in addition to his Kenyan citizenship.
Kariuki together with four directors of his companies were grilled at Mazingira Complex for more than nine hours on Thursday by a multi-agency team of officers from DCI, the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA), Bank Fraud Investigations Unit and the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP).