A multi-agency security team on Wednesday raided an illegal alcohol plant operating at a residential house at Korosit village in the outskirts of Kericho town, recovering fake Kenya Revenue Stamps (KRA), ethanol and counterfeit alcohol totaling to over Sh 22 million.
The 3pm incident was carried out by a team of security officers from agencies including Directorate of Criminal Investigations Nairobi (DCI), the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) and Kericho Security team where three rolls of fake KRA stamps were recovered with a value of Sh 12 million in lost revenue, 763 cartons of assorted counterfeit alcoholic brands with a street value of Sh 3, 552,000 and three drums containing suspected Ethanol with an estimated value of Sh 7,230, 000.
The brands of alcoholic drinks that were found packaged in the house include Best Vodka, Space Vodka, Smart Vodka, Venice Vodka, Tycoon Vodka, Cane Extra and Chrome Vodka and shockingly they bore stickers that indicated the brands were products of existing reputable and certified distillers and had valid Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) marks.
Police are hot in pursuit of the plant owner who is said to have fled the police dragnet.
Addressing the press, Kericho County Police Commander Rico Ngare said the plant might have been in operation illegally for a long time while describing the conditions in the premises as dirty and unhygienic, terming the syndicate a public health risk as it was not approved.
“We have been trailing the suspect from March 3 following a tip off and today this is our breakthrough. The environment under which the illegal liquor is conducting operations is dirty and here we observe that the suspected liquid said to be Ethanol is mixed with water and the mixing is done without certified approximations,” Ngare said.
“Those behind this are using their own approximations and this is very dangerous and are using recycled bottles collected from bars after revelers empty the contents which are not adequately cleaned posing a health risk to consumers,” he added.
The Police Commander said three stamp rolls each having 24,000 KRA fake stamps were recovered, new assorted bottle tops and 763 cartons of assorted counterfeit alcohol valued at Sh 3, 552,000 had fake KRA stamps affixed on the bottles.
They included 199 cartons of Best Vodka, 221 cartons of Space Vodka, 218 cartons of Smart Vodka, 65 cartons of Venice Vodka, 58 cartons of Tycoon vodka, one carton of Cane Extra vodka and one carton of Chrome vodka and thirteen drums each containing 250 litres of a liquid suspected to contain Ethanol worth Sh 7,230,000.
The police boss confirmed the illegal alcohol plant had evaded taxes amounting to over Sh 12 million, revealing that KRA have taken up the case to establish the correct market value of the illegal liquors.
He appealed to members of the public to give information on anyone brewing and selling the counterfeit liquor for the County to be free of these illegal substances which were destroying families and the young generations.
When KNA visited the area, the team from KRA was busy documenting evidence from the residential premise which has been operating as an illegal alcohol plant disguised as a livestock farm where pigs, chicken, cows, rabbits were seen feeding in their respective wooden houses within the compound.
On March 5, police in Soin/Sigowet sub-county within Kericho County arrested four suspects after they were found in possession of chang’aa and 5,000 litres of Kangara was destroyed in Chemogoch village.
By Sarah Njagi