KENYA – Kenyan brewer and alcoholic beverages manufacturer, Keroche Breweries Ltd, has announced the stepping down of the company’s Chief Executive Officer, Tabitha Karanja, handing over her rein to the company’s Chief Financial Officer, Potas Anaya.

Tabitha Karanja, who is also the company’s founder, announced her resignation on Tuesday morning as the company kicked off its 25th-anniversary celebrations.

“It is with immense pride that I announce my decision to step down as CEO of Keroche Breweries and hand over to a deserving successor,” Ms Karanja said.

“After 25 years as captain, the time has come for me, Tabitha Karanja to pass the baton to a new generation of business leaders.”

Karanja also noted that stepping down as the CEO will allow her to focus on her current role as the Nakuru County Senator.

“I am now ready to devote myself to the honour of serving as Senator for Nakuru County and Deputy Majority Leader in the Senate, representing our remarkable nation.”

In a statement, Tabitha expressed her views on the crucial decision that surrounded the alcoholic beverages industry highlighting that the industry is expecting over US$1.7 billion (Kes250 billion) tax revenue from the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA).

She urged that discussions concerning the matter must be conducted with sobriety and a progressive mind noting that it is important to regulate the industry without undermining its existence.

Ms Karanja, who legally hanged her name to Keroche, was the face behind the name, building the Naivasha-based brewer into a national brand.

For over 10 years Keroche Brewery has been caught up in the corridors of justice protesting against KRA’S tax demands of the company.

Last year Keroche and the KRA agreed on a payment plan that would see the brewer pay US$6.8 million (Kes957 million) in undisputed tax arrears.

The agreement led to KRA lifting the agency notice that had brought the brewer’s operations to a standstill by freezing its bank accounts.

KRA also disclosed that Keroche owed the authority US$157.5 million (sh 22.9 billion) in unpaid taxes darkening the future for the brewer which is a great competitor of the East African Breweries (EABL).

The disclosure was in response to Keroche’s plea for the President’s intervention after KRA shut the operations of the company and froze its dealing with 36 banks further exacerbating the situation.

Earlier this year, CEO Tabitha Karanja was taken to court by the Kenya Revenue Authority overUS$110 million (Kes14.5 billion) tax returns.

Tabitha appeared before Milimani senior principal magistrate Esther Kimilu where she faced 10 counts of tax evasion which she denied.

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