By KURIAN MUSA
Leading beer manufacturers in Kenya have renewed their legal battles this time over bottles rights and unfair market control practices.
Local beer manufacturer, Keroche Industries in a case filed at Milimani Law Courts in Nairobi accuses East Africa Breweries Limited (EABL) of practices that shielded others from competing in the lucrative market.
But, EABL has made a counter application saying the allegations were staining its reputation.
Keroche says: “It is a notorious fact that EABL engages in unfair trade practices both historically and continuously.” That it applied the same malpractices on Castle Brewery Kenya Ltd, formerly owned by South African Breweries now SAB Miller in 2002. Leading to EABL exiting the Tanzanian market where it operated under Kibo Breweries in Moshi in a Swap.
But, the Nairobi Stock Exchange (NSE) listed firm represented by lawyer Anthony Njogu said the particulars of the restrictive trade practices as outlined in the case are ‘extraneous and immaterial as this is a trademark infringement case.”
High Court judge Fred Ochieng handling the matter is scheduled to deliver a ruling on November 15, which Keroche, terms as an abuse of the court process.
Keroche believes that striking out the contentious paragraphs in the case was an attempt by EABL to avoid answering to the allegations.
The local manufacturer has claimed that EABL and Kenya Breweries Limited use the Attorney General Githu Muigai and the governments Department of Weights and Measures to achieve “their wicked scheme” of shutting them down.
But, Keroche has been challenged to give evidence to the claims against EABL a subsidiary of London based manufacturer Diageo PLC. Claims of EABL working with state organs to wipe out Keroche from the beer market were also rebutted.
Lawyer Njogu defended EABL saying it was not using its dominant position and state organs to unlawfully drive out competition.
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