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Order reopening of premises, Platinum Distillers urge court

Friday March 8 2019

 Platinum Distillers directors

John Waweru Ndegwa (left) and Onesmus Muturi Mburu, directors of Ruiru-based Platinum Distillers when they went to the High Court in Nairobi on March 8, 2019 seeking orders to have their premises reopened. The distiller was closed over an alleged plot to evade payment of up to Sh14 million in taxes. PHOTO | RICHARD MUNGUTI | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

RICHARD MUNGUTI
By RICHARD MUNGUTI
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Two directors of a Ruiru-based alcoholic drinks manufacturer, Platinum Distillers, have moved to court seeking to have their premises reopened.

John Waweru Ndegwa and Onesmus Muturi Mburu want the factory that was closed down in an operation supervised by the Inspector-General of Police Joseph Boinnet and the DCI Geoffrey Kinoti last month reopened.

It was closed over an alleged plot to evade payment of up to Sh14 million in taxes.

DENIED ACCESS

Through lawyer Chris Kabugu, the directors say they have been denied access to their manufacturing premises since officers from the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) have placed customs seals on the outer doors thus placing the factory under their watch.

Mr Kabugu Friday told High Court Judge Weldon Korir that the closure has harmful consequences on his clients’ business.

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The judge heard the actions by KRA are “manifestly unlawful and premised on error in law”.

The directors said their rights to do business and own property have been violated.

LIVELIHOODS AFFECTED

"The livelihoods of hundreds of workers have been affected as the KRA officials even closed premises adjacent to Platinum," Mr Kabugu told the judge.

The petitioners urged the judge order KRA to unlock the premises and allow them to gain entry into their factory pending the determination of the suit.

They are asking the court to order KRA to return all the documents they took from the premises.

But KRA defended its actions saying the petitioners are guilty of tax evasion.

KRA also stated that the petitioner has been dealing with ethanol and investigations about its entry into the country need to be completed.

KRA sought 30 days to complete investigations.

Justice Korir will rule on the re-opening of the premises on March 14, 2019.