Govt Launches Crackdown on Counterfeit Booze, Illicit Brews and Chang’aa Dens

December 15, 2022

The government through the Ministry of Interior has announced a nationwide crackdown on illicit alcoholic beverages and illegal drugs ahead of the Christmas season.

The Ministry is working in conjunction with the police, NACADA, MoH, KRA, KEBS and County Governments to rid the Kenyan market of substandard alcohol.

Interior PS Dr Raymond Omollo said the crackdown is informed by the fact that the Christmas period is usually marked by an upsurge in the consumption of counterfeit alcohol.

“This crackdown is therefore timely as it mitigates the potential harm wrought on our people by illicit brews and counterfeit alcohol that is mostly traded in non-compliant premises. Through this exercise, we can protect our youth from the devastating effects of alcohol and drug abuse,” Omollo said.

He noted that the exercise will safeguard licensed and legitimate businesses trading in alcoholic beverages.

“Government is not against legitimate alcohol business. Licensed trade in legit alcohol is an important economic activity that will be accorded the necessary support and security. Among the concerns arising out of the exercises include proliferation of substandard and counterfeit alcohol and the sale of brands with fake standardization stamps and outlets with deplorable health standards.”

PS Omollo challenged county governments to ensure that they only issue liquor licenses to legitimate alcohol vendors.

“Whilst we have seen commitment in several Counties, lax administration of these responsibilities undermines the fight against drugs and illicit alcohol. We will sustain engagements with relevant counties to redress this concern,” he said.

The PS spoke at the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development on Wednesday during a consultative meeting ahead of the crackdown.

Inspector General of Police Japhet Koome, who attended the meeting, added that the NPS will have zero tolerance for drunk driving during the festive season.

“Let the message be clear to those drug lords out there. There will be no negotiations. We are already in festive mode. The festive mode comes with excitement. Drivers tend to drink and drive. We are not going to allow it. Speeding, we will not tolerate it,” Koome insisted.

The conference, which was also attended by all Regional Commissioners, follows President William Ruto’s recent directive to strengthen the fight against the production, consumption, and sale of illegal alcohol and drugs.

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