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Thousands of litres of substandard and illicit brews impounded in Murang’a

A multiagency team in Murang’a has impounded thousands of litres of substandard illicit liquor and arrested 583 suspects during a two-week crackdown spearheaded by local security personnel.

Some of the impounded brews were found stocked on shelves and sold to unsuspecting residents.

Murang’a County Commissioner (CC) Joshua Nkanatha has confirmed that the county security team supported by officers from other agencies also seized some materials such as ethanol which is used to manufacture alcohol.

In a press briefing on Tuesday, Nkanatha said they have made big strides since the directive was issued two weeks ago noting they have combed all parts of the county to crack down on those behind the illegal business.

“Today we mark the first two weeks since our seniors issued the directive for us to fight the alcoholism menace by the national government,” he said.

“This far we have arrested 583 suspects and impounded hundreds of crates of the illicit brews,” he added.

The CC explained that the operation was carried out in conjunction with other government agencies such as the Kenya Revenue Authority, Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS), the Anti Counterfeit agency, and the Government Chemist.

“Because of this approach, 270 cases out of the 583 have been concluded,” Nkanatha said, adding that they are waiting for the results from the government chemist and KEBS so that they can ascertain the status of what was impounded.

In addition, 94 kilograms and 956 rolls of bhang was also seized during the operation with the administrator revealing that one of the peddlers had gone ahead and branded the narcotic substance.

“We are happy that our teams were able to dismantle that syndicate and impound such huge quantities of bhang,” he said.

Mr. Nkanatha noted that although the primary objective of the operation is not to collect fines from those arrested, it is notable that the government has collected Sh7.2 million in fines from the concluded cases.

The administrator said that exhibits displayed during the briefing will be returned to the respective police stations to assist in ongoing court cases.

Murang’a County Police Commander, David Mathiu, on his part, said the security team is determined to combat the illicit brew menace that has been rampant in the region.

He, however, cautioned the security officers to carry out the operation seriously and avoid getting compromised or interfering with the ongoing operations.

Mathiu said the security team will remain vigilant and will traverse the villages and clean up the illicit brews right from production to distribution.

The county security team is concurrently undertaking an operation known as Operation Linda Mananasi targeting pineapple thieves stealing from the Delmonte farms.

This operation has led to the recovery of 16,905 pineapples where 222 criminals have been convicted so far and Sh3, 096,000 collected as fines.

Several motorcycles and vehicles have also been impounded transporting the stolen pineapples.

By Purity Mugo and Bernard Munyao

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