A software programmer has accused Keroche Breweries Limited of shortchanging him in a botched business deal.
Speaking out on social media, he narrated how the troubled beverage manufacturer sought his services in installing an optic sensor at one of their Naivasha-based factories, only to later contemptuously breach their agreement.
According to the young entrepreneur identified as Mura Kariuki, agents from the company founded by accredited industrialist Tabitha and her husband Joseph Karanja asked him to take advantage of his vast knowledge in the profession and procure one of the gadgets himself so that installation could immediately begin.
They promised to refund him once the job was done.
Blinded by the magnitude of the homegrown distillery at the time, the gullible programmer could not sense any red flags in the rather unorthodox request.
But little did he know he was getting duped.
Despite coughing out over own Sh23,000 of his own money to make the expensive purchase, Mr Kariuki is yet to receive a dime from Keroche Breweries.
Neither the promised refund nor payment for the work he did.
When the frustrated programmer tried to follow up on the matter at their offices in Karai; along the Nairobi-Nakuru Highway, he was rudely told him off with a bizarre excuse that Mrs Karanja was out of the country and that his payment could not be disbursed without her approval.
“I once went to install a date coding machine at Keroche Limited but they didn’t have an optic sensor for bottle detection.
We agreed that I procure one, so that production can start, and forward the receipt so that @TabithaKaranja can approve refund once she was back.
Alikataa kulipa my Sh23,000 and I got tired following up.
She was okay making millions on the sweat of a guy earning 40k a month.
Earth is really hard,” he wrote on a Twitter thread published on Tuesday, 8th March 2022.
Mr Kariuki has exposed the company on the same day the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) disclosed that Keroche Breweries owes it Sh22.79 billion in unpaid taxes.
The taxman in an unprecedented move offered a blow-by-blow account of the 16-year-long battle with Keroche, including details of unpaid corporate tax, excise duty, VAT and penalties of Sh3.02 billion.
KRA’s revelation was in response to Keroche’s plea for President Uhuru Kenyatta’s intervention after the authority shut the operations of the beer maker and froze its dealings with 36 banks, further exacerbating the situation.
Keroche, owned by the Karanja family, linked its woes to a Sh351 million demand. But the KRA painted the brewer as a cheat who owes the State over Sh22 billion in unpaid taxes.
The tax battle looks set to stoke political undertones after Mrs Karanja opted to join politics and bid for Nakuru’s senate seat.
She joined United Democratic Alliance (UDA), the party of Deputy President William Ruto who is locked in a war of words with his boss, Mr Kenyatta, over presidential succession politics.
Unlike his predecessor Mwai Kibaki, Mr Kenyatta has announced an aggressive campaign for veteran opposition leader Raila Odinga against Mr Ruto, who has been vocal about his own presidential ambitions.
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