Nakuru Senator Tabitha Karanja has faulted the courts for issuing a warrant of arrest against her over a Sh14.5 billion tax evasion case.
On Wednesday, a Milimani law court issued the arrest warrant after the former Keroche Breweries CEO failed to appear for the hearing of the case.
Senior Principal Magistrate Esther Kimilu noted that Tabitha Karanja was aware of the proceedings but chose to stay away.
“The accused person knew that the matter was listed for hearing and failed to show up. I hereby discharge the two witnesses in court today and proceed to issue a warrant of arrest against the accused person,” the ruling read in part.
But Karanja claims that both Keroche and the Kenya Revenue Authority(KRA) were not aware. She faulted the court over a lack of coordination and communication.
She argued that both parties were still locked in an out-of-court settlement process as sanctioned by the court in April. At the time, the court gave the parties 45 days to resolve the matter.
“I am shocked and disappointed at this development. We were not represented in Court due to the fact that the Kenya Revenue Authority and Keroche Breweries are currently engaged in an Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) process as ordered by the same court. The first meeting was held on June 6th 2023 and the process is ongoing,” Tabitha said.
Adding: “Both ourselves and KRA have no information to the contrary. It is critical that these important ADR processes are not undermined by lack of coordination and communication by the various authorities charged with managing this matter.”
The senator is currently out on bond after denying 10 counts relating to failure to remit Sh14.5 billion tax arrears to the commissioner of exercise duty. The charges are linked to the money arising from declared production volumes of manufactured beer.
The DPP has since withdrawn charges against Tabitha’s husband, Joseph Karanja, due to his health condition.