Keroche to sue MP and Kebs, seeking Sh500m

Keroche has said it will sue Kebs and MP John Kihagi, following actions by the pair last year, which it claims led to loss of business.

Wednesday January 20 2016

Keroche Breweries chief executive officer Tabitha Karanja (right) explains a point to a member of the public after an inspection team led by Naivasha MP John Kihagi toured the multi billion industry on July 6, 2105. Keroche Breweries has said it will sue the Kenya Bureau of Standards and Naivasha MP John Kihagi, following actions by the pair last year, which it claims led to loss of business. PHOTO | MACHARIA MWANGI |

Keroche Breweries chief executive officer Tabitha Karanja (right) explains a point to a member of the public after an inspection team led by Naivasha MP John Kihagi toured the multi billion industry on July 6, 2105. Keroche Breweries has said it will sue the Kenya Bureau of Standards and Naivasha MP John Kihagi, following actions by the pair last year, which it claims led to loss of business. PHOTO | MACHARIA MWANGI | NATION MEDIA GROUP

By BRIAN NGUGI
More by this Author

Beer maker Keroche Breweries has said it will sue the Kenya Bureau of Standards and Naivasha MP John Kihagi, following actions by the pair last year, which it claims led to loss of business.

The chief executive officer of Keroche Breweries, Mrs Tabitha Karanja, said the company will be seeking upwards of Sh500 million in damages from the two.

“We are in talks with our lawyers in preparation for the suit. We plan to move to court very soon. We are going to take legal action against the Kenya Bureau of Standards (Kebs) and Naivasha Member of Parliament John Kihagi over their actions,” Mrs Karanja told the Nation on phone.

She made the declaration two days after the High Court ruled as unconstitutional a directive issued last July by President Uhuru Kenyatta, ordering the crackdown on illicit brews across the country.

ILLICIT BREW

The order sparked a widespread onslaught on brewers or dealers allegedly engaging in the production or sale of illicit brew.

Reportedly acting on the presidential directive, the Naivasha MP allegedly threatened to break into Keroche’s Sh10 billion plant located in his constituency, in search of second generation alcohol.

(READ: Keroche CEO weathers many storms to build a multi-billion empire)

Mrs Karanja at the time accused Mr Kihagi of waging a political battle against the company.

The presidential directive also saw Kebs write to several companies banning production of their products.

Keroche’s Crescent Vodka was among 221 alcoholic products outlawed by Kebs in a list that was published at the time.

Kebs officers also temporarily closed the Keroche’s production plant.

DIRECTIVE UNCONSTITUTIONAL

On Friday last week, High Court Judge George Odunga ruled that the presidential directive was “unconstitutional” as it did not comply with the provisions of Article 135 of the Constitution.

“The decision made by Kenya Bureau of Standards cancelling all the petitioners’ permits and licences transmitted vide the letter dated 3 July, 2015 is illegal and unconstitutional and is hereby quashed,” said Justice Odunga.

In the ruling, Justice Odunga also quashed the Alcoholic Drinks Control (Supplementary) Regulations, 2015, stating that they were unlawfully implemented and hence null and void.

On Tuesday, Mrs Karanja termed the ruling a relief, saying her earlier view that some leaders and the standards agency had misinterpreted the president’s directive and hurt legitimate business, had been vindicated.

advertisement