A multi-agency team has been formed in Murang’a County to crack down on brewing of illicit alcohol and selling of counterfeit liquor.
The team led by the County Commissioner, Mr. Fredrick Ndunga, will for the next 30 days embark on a crackdown exercise, to ensure no substandard liquor will be stocked in shelves.
The exercise that got support from bar owners comes at a time when a section of liquor outlets in the county, are accused of selling counterfeit alcoholic drinks.
Speaking during the launching of Rapid Response Initiative (RRI) to rid out illicit and counterfeit liquor, the Commissioner also said the fight will also be directed to chemists which are illegally selling some drugs, which require doctors’ prescription.
Ndunga observed that a section of young people have developed the habit of using medical drugs, bought across the counter to get intoxicated.
He noted that selling of illicit and counterfeit liquor has been common in the county condemning unscrupulous business people who are selling the substandard alcoholic drinks to unsuspecting customers.
He said the team will be visiting every liquor outlet and do tests of all stocked liquor to ascertain only genuine alcohol, is being sold to residents.
“Fake liquor has found its way to shelves and for the next 30 days, we will ensure only quality alcohol is being sold in all outlets within Murang’a County,” averred the Commissioner.
The team will comprise officers from Ministry of Interior, County Liquor Licensing Board, the police, Anti-counterfeit Agency, Kenya Revenue Authority, Public Health Department among other government agencies.
Ndunga cautioned public administrators who will be compromised by unscrupulous business people that they risk losing their jobs.
Murang’a County Police Commander, Ms Donatha Kiplagat, warned that people who will not comply with liquor rules risks to lose their licenses.
She said police will be on ground to ensure time for opening and closing bars is strictly adhered.
“We know some bar owners have been locking customers from inside so that they can continue drinking; we will not tolerate such habits,” stressed Kiplagat.
The National Chairman, Bars and Restaurant Association, Mr. Simon Njoroge, lauded the initiative, saying some wines and spirit outlets have been selling counterfeit alcohol.
He told members of the Association to ensure they only stock standard liquor brands, saying as an Association they will not support any member found with counterfeit alcoholic drinks.
“We will fully support the crackdown exercise as counterfeit brands have spoiled the reputation of our businesses. All members of our Association need to sell quality and accepted liquor brands,” he added.
The Director of the County Licensing Board, Mr. Jonathan Munene, said counterfeit liquor brands have denied the government a lot of revenue, saying as Board, they will cancel all outlets which are selling substandard liquor.
By Bernard Munyao