Bernice Mbugua @BerniceMuhindi
An alcoholic drinks manufacturer based in Ruiru has sued Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) for closing down a plant over alleged tax evasion.
Platinum Distillers Ltd claims KRA seized 4,000 litres of chemical product known as Glycol Propylene in February belonging to Multiplan Ltd, a company they share a compound with.
“We share compound with two other companies—Multiplan Packaging Ltd and Propar Ltd—who have leased different godowns at the MP Industrial Park,” said the firm’s director John Ndegwa.
Platinum accuses KRA of not investigating the matter but instead “proceeded ebulliently to call media houses to the scene to announce the seizure” of unaccustomed ethanol which the taxman claimed belonged to the company.
“KRA, acting on mistaken belief, has proceeded to seize the manufacturing premises by chasing out all our workers, seizing and carting away documents from our premises and placing custom seals on the outer doors and godown,” Ndegwa said in court papers.
According to the firm, closure of the business had brought “deleterious consequences” as it requires to be in constant production to meet its regular business obligations.
“A day lost without production has a profound effect on business and if the petitioner is not allowed to resume operations promptly it will be rendered impecunious,” said lawyer Kabugu Muguku.
The firm says it pays taxes regularly and it is fully licensed to manufacture and distribute dutiable and excisable alcoholic beverages.
Ndegwa says on February 23, last year Multiplan received a delivery of about 4,000 litres containing Glycol Propylene packed in two trucks.
Immediately after arrival of the product, officers of KRA entered the compound of the premises accompanied by a contingent of police officers and seized the product.
However, in confounding twist of events, KRA officers simultaneously laid siege of the firm, claiming the product belonged to it.
Platinum now wants KRA to compensate them for damages and loss during the period of closure of its production premises and aggravated damages.
It also wants the court to issue temporary orders restraining KRA from continuing to seal the outer doors or in any way deny or limit access to the plant. It also wants KRA ordered to return all documents it seized.