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Supa Loaf Bread Owners Exposed

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Supa Loaf Bread owners.

They carry themselves as manufacturers and distributors of baked goods throughout Kenya and lately Tanzania and Uganda. But behind the scenes are underground operations involving tax evasion running into billions of shillings in East Africa. Mini Bakers owners have invested in bakery production of Supa loaf and Akiyda. They are also in fertiliser production and real estate investment. Weekly Citizen exposed the operations of directors led by Wasmin Manji who has political connections and ventures in sugar industry. The family is said to have celebrated when tycoon Jaswant Rai fell out with the establishment.

Mini Bakeries, the company behind the Supa Loaf brand is involved in a tax evasion scandal through planned inside theft with the full knowledge of top managers and directors.

Kenya Revenue Authority is losing billions of shillings in the syndicate according to an insider well versed with the happenings.

The manufacture and distribution of baked goods is done throughout Kenya, and more recently than never before, in neighbouring Tanzania and Uganda undetected.

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The management of the bakeries have perfected the art and gimmicks of inside theft just as banks do inside trading, and sneak over one million loaves of bread to the market to evade paying taxes.

According to impeccable sources, over 100,000 loaves of bread are sneaked into the market on a weekly basis, thus denying the taxman millions of shillings that would otherwise help in resuscitating the ailing economy.

The source confided that once noticed by relevant authorities, the management decides to implicate staff in theft of bread landing them in court on several occasions. The court is a coverup deal to show the taxman, goods were stolen hence cannot be taxed. Many of the said cases end up being withdrawn by the complainants with the so said stolen bread finding itself among distributors who pay Mini Bakeries at normal rate but not captured in KRA documents.

One case is that of Ali Omar Faraj, who was employed by Mini Bakeries (MSA) Limited as a trainee manager, with effect from June 1 2007, with a starting with a gross salary of Sh18, 000 per month.

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In the course of time, Faraj rose through the ranks to become the manager at Likoni branch, earning a gross monthly salary of Sh70, 000. He was, however, suspended on December 4 2013, after a senior production manager visited and found some loaves of bread were not up to the set standards of production as they were underweight.

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Following that discovery, a stock-taking exercise was done which revealed that 185 loaves of bread were also missing.

Although Faraj was surcharged for the said loss, what broke the camel’s back was the fact that during his suspension, further stocktaking was done and it was found that a further 300 loaves of bread were missing.

The letter of summary dismissal is dated December 19 2013 the effective date of dismissal was stated to be December 20 2013.

The matter landed in court and Mini Bakeries was ordered to pay Faraj the equivalent of six and a half month salary in compensation for unfair termination pegged at Sh455, 000, and one month salary in lieu of notice at Sh70,000 totaling to Sh525, 000. Insiders say that the payment was just a tip of the iceberg since Faraj had for years helped the company evade taxes in form of stolen bread.

That the multibillions bread manufacturer working conditions are poor is no secret.

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In the High Court, Kakamega Civil Appeal No 96 of 2017, Mini Bakeries appealed against a ruling the bakery and Levi Kariz Oriedo.

Oriedo was employed by the firm and was assigned duties without due care and attention, failing to take any precautions for the safety of the employee. The company failed to provide a safe place of work, failing to provide necessary tools, among others.

On April 21 2017, the parties entered into a consent on liability at 80:20, whose effect was that the company conceded that Oriedo was its employee.

Another court case study is Employment and Labour Relation Court of Kenya at Kericho Cause No 185 of 2915 between Peter Odhiambo Angira (claimant) and Mini Bakeries (respondent) this matter is originated by a memorandum of claim dated July 9 2015. The issues for determination as set out there in are; whether the claimant was unlawfully, unprocedurally and unfairly terminated from employment by the respondent. The claimant’s case is that at all material times to this suit, he was employed by the respondent as an oven man with effect from November 1 2011. He worked hard and was promoted and as a result he was promoted to be in charge of hand bakers and transferred to work in a bakery that transported bread where he served until the date of his unfair and unprocedural termination. At the time of termination, he earned Sh13,556.

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It is the claimant’s further case that his employment was terminated unprocedurally and without lawful cause on the grounds of absenteeism which was not true.

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The court ruled that Angira was an employee of the Mini Bakeries. The second issue for determination was whether the termination of the employment of the claimant by the respondent was wrongful, unfair and unlawful.

The court found Mini Bakeries had wrongfuly, unfairly and unlawfully terminated the employment of Angira.

The third issue for determination was whether the claimant was entitled to the relief sought. Having succeeded on issues No 1 and 2 above the court ruled, Angira was entitled to the relief sought.

Mini Bakeries has directly and indirectly employed over 3000 people including bicycle vendors and distributors who in turn employ others to deliver Supa Loaf to over 20,000 retail outlets within Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda.

Mini Bakeries sells over three billion slices of Supa Loaf or over 200 million loaves of bread every year, potentially putting its annual revenue at over Sh6 billion.

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Mini Bakeries was established by Nurzakhanu Akberali Manji and her husband Akberali Manji, and has over several decades grown to become one of the largest companies in the food and beverages sector.

Nurzakhanu Akberali Manji, nicknamed Mama Kubwa and her three sons are the ones steering the business from a household bakery to a multibillions family empire. They are also linked to feterliser company in Tanzania and Aquava Agencies in Kisumu.

The also own Island Paradise Inn, Akiyda Bakeries and Butali Sugar Mills. It is due to these tax evasion gimmicks that saw the bakery appeal at Uganda court ruled in favour of Uganda Revenue Authority in Application No 102 of 2018 in the Tax Appeals Tribunal at Kambala.

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The ruling was in respect of an application challenging a penal tax assessment of Sh52,881,046 for underestimating provisional tax for the period 2017 to 2018.

On the December 17 2017, Mini Bakeries applicant filed a provisional income tax return for the period 2017/2018 with an estimated tax liability of Sh311,446,187. On the June 25 2018, the

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applicant filed an amended provisional income tax return of Sh450,000,000 as an estimated tax liability. On December 7 2018, the applicant filed its final income declaring a tax liability of Sh793,783,590.

Upon submission of the final return Uganda Revenue Authority issued a penal tax assessment of Sh 52,881,046.

It was noted that it was not in dispute that the gross turnover declared by Mini Bakeries in its revised provisional tax assessment was less than 90pc of that declared in the final return.

It was clear that the amount estimated in the provisional returns were 56pc which is less than the required 90pc by law.

The court ruled that Uganda Revenue Authority was justified to impose penal tax. Mini Bakeries is also being accused of swindling innocent members of public millions of shilling when it ventured into real estate with plans to build a Sh3.5 billion residential estate off Kamiti Road in Kiambu county which has become a white elephant project.

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Mini Bakeries sought to exploit the growing demand for housing in Nairobi metropolis and cut reliance on revenue from bread.

Wasmin is said to have pocketed KRA officers working under Commisioner General Hamprey Watanga Mulongo.Mulongo has been petitioned to investigate.


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