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Hustle

Platinum Distillers closed over Sh14m tax evasion plot

Platinum Distillers Limited, an alcoholic drinks manufacturer based in Ruiru, has been closed down over an alleged plot to evade payment of up to Sh14 million in taxes.

The factory was shut on Sunday during a sting operation by officers from the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA). Four people were arrested.

Dr Edward Karanja, the KRA’s head of tax investigations, explained that Platinum concealed its imported goods as raw materials for making alcohol in order to pay less in taxes.

He said that whereas the distiller paid Sh383,962, a preliminary report indicated the consignment was packaged at an ethanol producing company in India, so the company should have paid up to Sh14 million in taxes.

Crates of alcohol produced by Platinum Distillers Limited during a KRA sting operation on February 24, 2019. PHOTO | DENNIS ONSONGO
Crates of alcohol produced by Platinum Distillers Limited during a KRA sting operation on February 24, 2019. PHOTO | DENNIS ONSONGO

TAX EVASION

Platinum’s case came a few weeks after that of African Spirits Limited, a Thika-based alcohol manufacturing plant.

Early in February, African Spirits Limited was found in possession of ethanol of questionable quality and suspected fake KRA stamps following a raid officers from the Flying Squad, the KRA and the DCI.

The company is the producer of Bluemoon vodka, Legend brandy, Glenrock whiskey, Furaha gin, and Furaha Vodka, among others drinks.

As part of the investigation, African Spirits was shut down as the police searched for owner Humphrey Kariuki, one of the country’s most reclusive tycoons, on suspicion of evading taxes.

Director of Criminal Investigations George Kinoti further said a manhunt for other senior staff was also launched.