Owners of Keroche Breweries Limited Tabitha Karanja and her husband Joseph Karanja have been released on Kshs10 million and Kshs5 million cash bail respectively.
However, the Chief Magistrate Francis Andayi has granted the couple seven days to make the Ksh10 million payment failure to which Tabitha Karanja will be re-arrested.
They have also been ordered to surrender their passport in court and notify the judicature of any travel plans that will not interfere with court dates.
The Director and CEO of Keroche were arraigned in court on Friday morning to answer to up to 10 charges related to Kshs 14 billion tax evasion.
But the state prosecutor Catherine Mwaniki was opposing the issuance of bail to the couple urging the court to take into consideration the Ksh14 billion.
The accused lawyers, Senator James Orengo, however, told the court that the Ksh14 billion should not a factor to be taken into consideration as no material has been placed before the court, thus they ought to be presumed innocent.
The duo is being represented by Orengo, Murang’a Senator Irungu Kang’ata and lawyers Kioko Kilukumi and Kiragu Kimani.
Joseph Karanja sick
While Mrs Karanja spent Thursday night at Muthaiga Police Station, her husband was released after the intervention of his medical team.
According to Karen Hospital, the companies CEO, Joseph Karanja has a serious medical condition that would worsen if he spent the night in police custody.
“This is to satisfy that Mr Karanja is in our medical care. He has recently undergone life-saving surgery. Keeping him in police custody will greatly endanger his life,” the hospital said in a statement.
On Wednesday, Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Noordin Haji ordered their arrest and arraignment to answer to charges of tax fraud committed between January 2015 and June 2019.
The duo was arrested by detectives in their Naivasha based headquarters following the orders of the DPP before being driven to DCI headquarters in Naivasha.
Tabitha has accused the taxman of selective and unfair targeting, arguing that she has always followed the law and was shocked to be accused of tax evasion when the matters were still under a tax tribunal.
Keroche is, however, not a stranger to battles with Kenya Revenue Collection (KRA). In the past, the company faced tax bills that ran into Ksh1.3 billion which issued a shutdown order but the brewer obtained a court order stopping the closure.
In 2017, the Court of Appeal ruled, a decade-long Sh1.1 billion tax battle between the firm and KRA, in favor of the brewer.