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Bars owners to move to court over alleged arbitrary closure of their premises

Bar  owners  in  Kirinyaga County have instructed their lawyer to move to court to seek legal redress, following closure of businesses belonging  to  some of their members by government agents.

Through  their umbrella body, the Kirinyaga Bar Owners Association  with a membership of 2100, the entrepreneurs claimed some liquor outlets  have been arbitrary closed down without notice by a multi-agency task force, despite the operators having all the required permits from  the area Liquor  Licensing  Board.

After a daylong meeting over the matter on Wednesday, the  Association’s Chairman, Antony  Mucheke  told the media his affected members were being victimized for nothing by officials from the Kenya Revenue Authority, National Authority for the Campaign against Alcohol and Drug  Abuse (NACADA), the Kenya Bureau of Standards, and the Police who are currently undertaking a crackdown on illegal liquor outlets.

“In  Ngurubani  town, Mwea  East sub county , 14 bars have been closed down without notice leaving the owners without any source of livelihood  and it is on these premises that we have instructed our lawyer Ndegwa  Njiru to take up the matter,” the official said.

It  has  been  established  that the crackdown is ongoing within Central Kenya Region and targeting liquor outlets which are within the 300 meter  radius  from schools and churches.

The  crackdown  is  headed  by NACADA  assisted by other  relevant government agents from the National government, according to the Kirinyaga County Police Commander  (CPC), Leah  Kithei.

NACADA‘s  move is to ensure the  2010 Mututho  laws  which prohibited the existence of bars near  schools  and churches  were  complied  with.

Njiru  confirmed  having received instructions from the Association and added that he will be filling an affidavit in court  on  Thursday morning.

“Having  been  dully instructed  by  the Association to move to court and seek for prohibitory orders baring the agents from further closures  of  the  bars until the matter is heard and determined, I am doing so right  away  and  by  Friday, I  will  be filing the application,” he said.

The  Association was formed in 2014 with the late Njagi Muthinji as its founding Chairman.

It  was  meant to counter  the County  Alcoholic and soft Drinks  Act  of  2014 which members felt was detrimental to their business

The  Act  outlawed  the setting up liquor outlets within residential areas and rural environments.

By  Irungu  Mwangi

 

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